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Supreme Court declines Establishment Clause challenge to Mississippi LGBT law

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On Monday, January 8, 2018, the United States Supreme Court declined to review both Barber v. Bryant and Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant, two suits filed against Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant contesting the state's law (HB 1523) which allows public officials and businesses to deny services to LGBT people for religious reasons.

The post Supreme Court declines Establishment Clause challenge to Mississippi LGBT law appeared first on ReligiousLiberty.TV - Celebrating Liberty of Conscience.

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Gregory Matthews

This  refusal of the Supreme Court to   hear the case should not be misunderstood.  It clearly does not settle the issue.  Rather it punts it down the road to be settled at another time.

In order to litigate against the government, one must have "standing."  This essentially means that one must have suffered an injury for which  one seeks redress.  Absent standing, one cannot litigate simply because has a belief that the law violates some legal right.  It is on this narrow basis that's the Court declined to hear this case.   This means that  a couple who claims to have suffered some injury by the law could potentially obtain standing and at that time the Court cold  rule on the merits of the case and rule ethat the law either violated Constitutional rights or that it did not.

As it stated in the article that Stan cited:

NOTE:  How do you like the judge citing the Bible in the ruling?  :)



That the Supreme Court declined to hear this case is not the end of the story as it is likely that eventually a same-sex couple will be denied either state or business services for religious reasons protected by HB 1523 that will supply them with standing to address the Establishment Clause concerns. And then the courts will have to rule on the merits. As Beth Littrell, lawyer for Lambda Legal, an LGBTQ advocacy group said, "We're ready to sue again when plaintiffs tell us about the harm," the lawyer adds. "We would have to go back and start over again when we are able to articulate and show the particular ways this law is hurting people."[2]

For those concerned with religious liberty, these cases are fraught with difficult issues, as both sides are seeking to defend conflicting rights. Mississippi’s HB 1523 highlights some of those difficulties. On the one hand, it seeks to protect freedom of conscience in three specific areas, something which appears laudable on the surface. But as Judge Reeves pointed out in his ruling against the law, “It is difficult to see the compelling government interest in favoring three enumerated religious beliefs over others….  It is not within our tradition to respect one clerk’s religious objection to issuing a same-sex marriage license, but refuse another clerk’s religious objection to issuing a marriage license to a formerly-divorced person. The government is not in a position to referee the validity of Leviticus 18:22 (“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.”) versus Leviticus 21:14 (“A widow, or a divorced woman, or profane, or an harlot, these shall he not take.”).


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