HB 1523, or the “Protecting Freedom of Conscience From Government Discrimination Act” is scheduled to go before a three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit today. The bill, set to become law last year, would have insulated a person or business from legal action if they refused service based on “deeply held religious beliefs” as it says in the language.
Specifically, those beliefs are:
1. that marriage is between one man and one woman
2. that people should not have sex outside such marriages
3. and a person’s gender is set at birth.
The bill was set to become law last year, but was stayed at the last moment by U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves. National outrage threw the bill (and Mississippians) into the spotlight, but Governor Phil Bryant has vowed to fight for the measure.
Judges will hear from both sides, and a decision could take months to reach.
News Mississippi will have more information as it becomes available.