American’s most sweeping anti-LGBT law is heading to Federal court in Mississippi this week.

A law that will allow Mississippi officials and service providers such as doctors to deny services to LGBT people on the basis of “sincerely held” religious beliefs is heading into federal court in Mississippi for a series of hearings before U.S. District Judge Carlton W. Reeves.

The law HB1523 is scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2016.

On Monday, June 20 at 9:30 a.m. Judge Reeves will hold oral arguments on whether to reopen Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant to address a provision of HB 1523 that allows public officials to recuse themselves from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Mississippi is home to over 60,000 LGBT adults and an estimated 11,400 Transgender youth and adults, according to 2016 data published by The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law.

The state is also home to 3,500 same-sex couples, 29 percent of whom are raising children.

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Lead counsel Roberta Kaplan says,

“In 1776, the founders of our nation declared that ‘all men are created equal’ and that they are ‘endowed’ with ‘certain unalienable rights,’ including ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’

“Almost 240 years later, on July 1 of this year, the State of Mississippi intends to implement a law that could hardly be more inconsistent with these principles,

“That law, HB 1523, declares that Mississippians who hold certain religious beliefs–namely, that gay people should not be permitted to marry (among others)–should have special rights and privileges, including the right to discriminate against and undermine the dignity of LGBT citizens.

“Given this obvious contradiction between HB 1523 and the core principles that our country has long stood for, we are confident that HB 1523 will not survive review by a federal court.”

 

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