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Federal judge declines to block Mississippi religious freedom law
Federal judge declines to block Mississippi religious freedom law

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi on Tuesday declined to block [order, PDF] Mississippi’s HB 1523 [text], which would allow clerks to refuse marriage licenses to same-sex couples citing “sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction.” The law, set to take effect July 1, recognizes and protects three beliefs: that “(a) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman; (b) Sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage; and (c) Male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.” While some contend the ruling is a “reasonable accommodation” to religious beliefs, others believe it is legalized discrimination. The judge is set to hear arguments in related challenges later this week.

Mississippi’s governor signed this bill into law in April, just days after a federal judge struck down [JURIST reports] Mississippi’s ban on adoption by same-sex partners. In November the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled that same-sex divorce is legal [JURIST report] within the state. In a 5-4 decision, the high court granted the divorce order citing to the recent US Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges [JURIST report] as the main legal authority.