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On Thursday, a federal judge has put on hold a new piece of legislation designed to shield the opponents of gay marriage on religious grounds from LGBT backlash when denying service. The law, which also demands public restrooms to be gender appropriate, was slated to come into effect a day after the injunction.
U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves says that the new rules are unconstitutional since they discriminate against LGBT members and people that do not believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman only.
LGBT were granted an injunction after they argued that under the U.S. Constitution states should not issue legislation that establishes religion.
Under the now-blocked law “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act,” people believing that marriage should be only between a man and woman are protected from the gay and lesbian’s legal actions. The law also established that a person’s gender should match that person’s sex at birth.
Under the new law, business owners are entitled to refuse to provide services to LGBT people if it is against their religious beliefs. This includes backing wedding cakes, selling floral arrangements to weddings, and providing fertility services to same-sex couples.
Transgender people will also have to follow an appropriate dress code when planning to use a public restroom or locker room.
However, the federal judge believes that the new law is against the “equal dignity” of all citizens.
Governor Phil Bryant signed the bill into law three months ago. Promoters of the law argued that it is necessary to protect Mississippi business owners’ and other residents’ against backlash when seeking to exercise their religious views.
On the other hand, critics of the law said that the rules are so broad that they could be interpreted to be applied against any individual that is not engaged in a heterosexual marriage including single parents. There are a handful of pending lawsuits challenging the measures.
Several days ago, Judge Reeves said that clerks who want to recuse themselves if they don’t want to issue marriage licenses to gay people should do their job as a Supreme Court decision had established.
Last week, a Christian pastor and Jewish rabbi testified in court that “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act” does not echo their religious views. Reeves also listened to gay community’s objections to the new law before the final decision.
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