Second Lawsuit in Less than 24 Hours Challenges Anti-LGBT HB1523 in Mississippi

By Adam Polaski • May 10, 2016 • 2:07 pm

Today, May 10, the Campaign for Southern Equality reopened a lawsuit that brought the freedom to marry to the state of Mississippi, Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant. The reopened legal case incorporates a challenge to the constitutionality of one provision of HB1523, the anti-LGBT law passed in Mississippi at the end of March. The law allows businesses and individuals to cite their religious beliefs as an excuse to discriminate against same-sex couples, transgender people, or unmarried people who have sex.


Roberta Kaplan, lead counsel in the case, said this week:

“The statute that the State of Mississippi just enacted – HB 1523 – clearly violates the fundamental principle of equality before the law. It authorizes, even encourages, discrimination against LGBT people in Mississippi re-creating, only months after the Supreme Court clearly held it unconstitutional, another form of second-class citizenship for LGBT Mississippians. State officials cannot  circumvent federal court injunctions and evade the Constitution by passing laws that seek to stigmatize LGBT people and segregate them from everyone else.”

Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality, said:

“LGBT people live in every town across Mississippi and it is vital to ensure that they are treated equally when they exercise their constitutional right to marry. As long as the state of Mississippi continues to pass discriminatory laws that are clearly based on anti-LGBT animus, we will continue to seek recourse in the federal courts.”

The judicial movement is the second legal case to challenge HB1523 in less than 24 hours. Just yesterday, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Mississippi filed an additional legal challenge. The case seeks relief from the registrar of vital records and was filed on behalf of Nykolas Alford and Stephen Thomas, a same-sex couple who planned to marry but now face discrimination because of HB1523.

This movement in court brings fresh momentum to the fight against anti-LGBT discrimination in Mississippi. Cheers to the legal advocates working against these discriminatory laws, and we’ll keep pushing forward in the court of public opinion.

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