Today, HRC lauded U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves’ decision to block the implementation of Mississippi’s discriminatory and harmful H.B. 1523, right before it was set to go into effect. H.B. 1523, deceptively titled “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act,” enables almost any individual or organization to discriminate against LGBTQ Mississippians at work, at school and in their communities. This legal victory will block the immediate implementation of the law, and HRC will continue to push for the full repeal of this unconstitutional bill. The injunction comes from a case litigated by Roberta Kaplan, the civil rights lawyer who argued in front of the Supreme Court of the United States in the landmark case United States v. Windsor.
“This legislation was rooted in hate, it targeted the LGBTQ community and it was a deliberate attempt to undermine marriage equality and the dignity of LGBTQ Mississippians who lawmakers have sworn to serve and protect,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “We will continue our fight to ensure that H.B. 1523 is repealed in its entirety.”
“We are glad to see that Judge Carlton Reeves has made clear what we already knew: H.B. 1523 is indefensible, both morally and legally,” said Rob Hill, Mississippi state director for HRC. “For months, Mississippians, the business community, faith leaders and countless others have made clear their opposition to this harmful bill, and we are pleased to see it will not go into effect this week. We will continue to look toward a full repeal of the law, and pursue comprehensive legal protections for all LGBTQ Mississippians.”
Earlier this year, hundreds of Mississippians -- including representatives from faith communities and civil rights organizations -- rallied against the bill outside Gov. Phil Bryant’s residence alongside HRC and its allies. Gov. Bryant has, to this day, refused meetings with members of the LGBTQ community throughout the lifespan of the bill. Read more about the law here.
In 2014, HRC launched Project One America, an initiative geared towards advancing social, institutional and legal equality in Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas. HRC Mississippi continues to work to advance equality for LGBTQ Mississippians who have no state level protections in housing, workplace, or public accommodations. Through HRC Mississippi, we are working toward a future of fairness every day -- changing hearts, minds and laws toward achieving full equality.