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Federal Judge Keeps Mississippi Governor from Enforcing Anti-LGBT Law

Federal Judge Keeps Mississippi Governor from Enforcing Anti-LGBT Law

How many times can Gov. Phil Bryant hear no? Apparently not enough.

A federal judge had some harsh words for Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant when he refused—again—to let the state enforce what many have called the country’s most discriminatory law against LGBTs.

U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves refused Monday to stay his injunction against HB 1523 while Bryant organized his appeal, saying that the “absence does not impair the free exercise of religion.”

Signed into law this spring, HB 1523 frees individuals and businesses with strong religious or moral objections to same-sex marriage or sex outside of marriage to refuse goods and services to anyone who identifies as LGBT.

The law also includes prohibitions against transgender people using facilities matching their gender identity—similar to North Carolina’s HB 2, currently facing an injunction in federal court.

Reeves’s irritation with the case came through loud and clear in his brief, claiming he was “passing the baton” to a higher court and openly doubted if the governor would win on appeal.

Maybe that’s because the Magnolia State tried to compare businesses serving LGBT customers with forcing someone to fight in combat or get an abortion.

“Issuing a marriage license to a gay couple is not like being forced into armed combat or to assist with an abortion,” Reeves wrote.

Honestly, you can hear the exasperation in the writing.

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