ACLU files suit challenging MS 'religious freedom' law - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

ACLU files suit challenging MS 'religious freedom' law

JACKSON, MS (WLOX) -

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Mississippi have filed a lawsuit challenging HB 1523. The Religious Liberty Accommodation law allows public officials and businesses to refuse service to individuals based on religious beliefs.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Nykolas Alford and Stephen Thomas, a gay couple who are engaged to be married. The couple describes HB 1523 as “as slap in the face.”

“When HB 1523 passed, it was heartbreaking because it takes away our chance to finally be treated equally,” the couple said in a news release from the ACLU. “At a time when we’re supposed to be excited as a couple engaged to be married, this law permits discrimination against us simply because of who we are. This is not the Mississippi we’re proud to call home. We’re hopeful others will come to realize this and not allow this harmful measure to become law.”

According to the ACLU, this lawsuit is challenging the constitutionality of HB 1523:

The Supreme Court was clear in its marriage ruling last year: States must provide the “same legal treatment” to married same-sex couples that they provide to the marriages of different-sex couples. HB 1523 directly contradicts the Supreme Court’s ruling by treating the marriages of same-sex couples differently than the marriages of everyone else, the ACLU said. The statute does not authorize anyone to discriminate against the marriages of different-sex couples based on religious beliefs. It singles out the marriages of same-sex couples and provides a special right for governmental officials and for-profit businesses to discriminate against them.

The ACLU said HB 1523 does not just authorize discrimination against same-sex couple. It also allows discrimination against transgender people and anyone who has sex outside of heterosexual marriage.

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