Judge Reeves’ opinion blocking Mississippi’s Religious Freedom Law

Judge Carlton Reeves, in blocking HB 1523, called it “state-sanctioned discrimination.”

He went further:  “There are almost endless explanations for how HB 1523 condones discrimination against the LGBT community, but in its simplest terms it denies LGBT citizens equal protection under the law.”  Judge Reeves noted that the law, if implemented, would create a separate system designed to diminish the rights of LGBT citizens, thus violating the equal protection guaranteed by the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution.  He also noted that it gave an official preference for certain religious beliefs over others, thus violating the 1st Amendment.

Governor Bryant had argued that HB 1523 would protect discrimination against people like him — who he defined as “Christians with deeply held religious beliefs about marriage and sex.”  And my deeply held religious beliefs are “chopped liver”, Governor?

Reeves show down the (admittedly weak) defense of HB 1523 by saying that this legislation granted “special rights” to certain citizens who held beliefs “reflecting disapproval of lesbian, gay, transgender and unmarried persons…..People who held contrary religious beliefs (than the Governor and his supporters) would remain unprotected….meaning the State has put its thumb on the scale to favor some religious beliefs over others….” — a violation of the Establishment Clause.

But Judge Reeves says it all when he says that enforcement of HB 1523 would create “an official preference” for certain religious tenets while offering no protection for people who had differing beliefs.

I admittedly have one aspect of my personal theology that causes me concern.  God doesn’t work on my timetable.  That’s right.  I beg him to smite my enemies.  Sometimes he doesn’t answer at all; often he says…hold on, Lydia.

Unfortunately there is an aspect of the personal theology of others I know that causes me concern also.  Many people think that they have a direct line to God.  If everyone who believed that they had a direct line would listen to what was said/sanctioned on that line, there would not be so much divergence of theological opinion.  Please don’t explain to me what your God said in his direct communication to you.  How do you know that you have the right connection?  Moreover, how do you know that you heard/understood what he said to you?

Thank you, Judge Reeves, for reconizing that Mississippians are a people of differing faiths and/or no faith at all.  Please keep reminding leadership that Republicans want to keep government “little” — not big.  Please keep reminding leadership that Republicans do not need to interfere in the personal rights of others.  Please keep reminding leadership that people in glass houses should be careful…..

 

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