Federal court clears path for Mississippi's LGBTQ religious objection laws

Federal court clears path for Mississippi's LGBTQ religious  objection laws
Flags, signs and logos are waved by LGBT activists on the steps of the Capitol in Jackson, Mississippi. Rogelio V. Solis/AP
Flags, signs and logos are waved by LGBT activists on the steps of the Capitol in Jackson, Mississippi. Rogelio V. Solis/AP

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday ruled that Mississippi can begin to enforce a law that would let the state's merchants and government employees deny services to same-sex couples because of their own religious beliefs, the Associated Press reports.

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves originally ruled that the law, HB 1523, was unconstitutional because it allowed unequal treatment for LGBTQ people.

Protestors call for Mississippi Republican Gov. Phil Bryant to veto House Bill 1523.
Protestors call for Mississippi Republican Gov. Phil Bryant to veto House Bill 1523. Rogelio V. Solis/AP

When it first went to trial, Slate called the law the "nation's worst anti-gay bill." In her 60-page opinion, Reeves wrote that the law "establishes an official preference for certain religious beliefs over others," Slate reported.

According to the AP, Republican Mississippi governor Phil Bryant supports the law, saying it protects the belief that marriage is between one man and one woman and that a person's gender is determined at birth.