U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves struck down Mississippi’s heinous “religious freedom” law HB 1523 just moments before it was to take effect late Thursday night.
DOMA lawyer Roberta Kaplan filed suit against the bill in May.
In his 60-page ruling, Reeves wrote that HB1523 “violates both the guarantee of religious neutrality and the promise of equal protection of the laws” and was therefore unconstitutional.
The order came days after Reeves disabled part of the bill on Monday, when he issued an injunction barring Mississippi from denying same-sex marriage licenses.
The bill, which was signed into law by Governor Phil Bryant in April, has made Mississippi the target of dozens of boycotts and protests.
RELATED: DOMA Lawyer Roberta Kaplan Files Lawsuit Against Mississippi Over ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill – READ
The bill prevents state and local government agencies from taking action against state employees, individuals, organizations and private associations that deny service based on religious beliefs.
It does not prevent civil lawsuits based on claims of discrimination.
The measure’s intention is to protect those who believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman, that sexual relations should only take place inside such marriages, and that male and female genders are unchangeable.
Proponents say the legislation is an answer to states that have fined or taken business permits from companies that deny services such as event rentals and bakery services to same-sex couples.
Circuit clerks who do not want to give a wedding license to a same-sex couple could hand over those duties to a deputy clerk.
Opponents say the state is sanctioning discrimination.
The bill was considered to be the first of its kind as it combines the most hateful elements of ‘religious freedom’ bills with those of ‘first amendment defense acts.’
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