Attorney General: 'HB 1523 duped churchgoing public'

Attorney General: 'HB 1523 duped churchgoing public'

JACKSON, MS (WDAM) - Attorney General Jim Hood released the following statement regarding Judge Carlton Reeves' ruling on HB 1523. 

His statement is as followed:

"The federal court's ruling was straightforward and clear.  On page 9, the court quotes statements made by legislators, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor.  The court found that those statements, along with the inclusion of the term "sincerely held religious beliefs" and the definition thereof in HB 1523, were strong evidence that the law was unconstitutional. 

In 2014, the state enacted the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act, which created a right of citizens to sue the state in state court if they felt that their religious freedoms were being overburdened. The federal court observed that this act was already in law when those officials went for a second victory lap to reinvigorate the support of churchgoing people by passing HB 1523 in an overtly political fashion.

Judge Carlton Reeves issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the controversial law from going into effect July 1.

"Religious freedom was one of the building blocks of this great nation, and after the nation was torn apart, the guarantee of equal protection under law was used to stitch it back together," wrote Judge Reeves in federal documents filed Thursday. "But HB 1523 does not honor that tradition of religion freedom, nor does it respect the equal dignity of all of Mississippi's citizens. It must be enjoined. The motions are granted."

House Bill 1523 would allow private businesses to refuse service to the LGBT community based off of their religious background and beliefs.