LGBTQ community criticizes MS court’s decision to uphold controversial Bill 1523

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Some call it discriminatory, some say it upholds freedom.

A federal court seemed to think the latter as Mississippi's controversial House Bill 1523 was upheld.

However, LGBTQ advocates are not letting the issue go away quietly. House Bill 1523 has drawn harsh criticism from the LGBTQ community.

On Thursday, this controversial bill became law in Mississippi, the result of a 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling overturning a lawsuit challenging the bill.

"Apparently, they found some sympathetic judges to say that someone can use their religion to deny someone their basic rights," Out Memphis Executive Director Will Batts said.

Batts has closely followed the life of the Mississippi bill, which supports the belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman and prevents government intervention when churches or businesses act.

"People don't realize how impactful this is on somebody's daily life," Batts said. "Right? Like schools, and churches, and retirement homes all these places are run by religious organizations who could deny you entry, deny you services. You know a hospital could deny serving you. There's all kinds of implications with this that people don't think about."

House Speaker Philip Gunn, who authored the bill, responded to the ruling.

"The whole objective was to protect religious freedoms," Gunn said. "We are pleased to see that is now in effect."

ACLU of Mississippi was quick to call the reversal a disappointment for the LGBTQ community.

"This decision places the plaintiffs and thousands more LGBTQ Mississippians and single parents in a position where they can actually be harmed for living as their authentic selves," said Executive Director Jennifer Riley Collins.

"I am not surprised by the ruling, but we are not giving up," Batts said. "There are lots of people that are going to fight this."

The fight would be battled at the Supreme Court.

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