Federal Judge Rules Mississippi Clerks Cannot Cite Religious Beliefs to Refuse Issuing Marriage Licenses to Gay Couples
A federal judge has negated part of Mississippi’s new law that allowed clerks to refuse issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples based on their religious beliefs.
U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves issued a permanent injunction Monday that bans circuit clerks or staff clerks from refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, regardless of a new state law that would have allowed the refusal, The Clarion-Ledger reports.
Republican Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill in April that protects people who refuse service because of their sincerely-held religious beliefs on marriage, premarital sex and gender. The law came after the Obergefell ruling, where the Supreme Court recognized same-sex marriage nationwide, as well as a string of cases where people faced legal action for refusing to service gay weddings.
The Mississippi law, HB1523, specifically says that people can refuse service based on their belief that marriage is only between a man and a woman, that sex should remain within marriage, and that a person’s gender corresponds with their anatomy at birth.