WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court refused Jan. 8 to hear a challenge to a Mississippi law that would allow government workers and businesses to deny services to LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) persons and couples based on religious beliefs.
The nation’s high court declined to hear two cases challenging the constitutionality of House Bill 1523, a law that forbids the state from taking “discriminatory action” against persons who act in accordance with religious beliefs that marriage “is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman.” The measure has been criticized as the most sweeping anti-LGBT bill since the Supreme Court legalized same-sex “marriage” nationwide in 2015.
A group of 50 conservative Baptist pastors penned an open letter in 2016 affirming the legislation “wholeheartedly and without equivocation.” The Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission called it “an exemplary model for public policy.”
A smaller group of Baptist pastors, meanwhile, opposed the bill, saying it will lead to “increasing hostility and potential discrimination” against LGBT individuals. (BNG)