Miss. AG rips state GOP: They ‘duped’ pastors into backing anti-gay ‘religious freedom’ bill
Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood (D) criticized Republican lawmakers after a federal judge blocked a law allowing businesses to refuse to serve LGBT customers because of their religious beliefs, WLBT-TV reported.
“I can’t pick my clients, but I can speak for myself as a named defendant in this lawsuit. The fact is that the churchgoing public was duped into believing that HB1523 protected religious freedoms,” Hood said in a statement. “Our state leaders attempted to mislead pastors into believing that if this bill were not passed, they would have to preside over gay wedding ceremonies. No court case has ever said a pastor did not have discretion to refuse to marry any couple for any reason. I hate to see politicians continue to prey on people who pray, go to church, follow the law and help their fellow man.”
As Reuters reported, District Judge Carlton Reeves ruled that the law “does not honor that tradition of religion freedom, nor does it respect the equal dignity of all of Mississippi’s citizens” and issued an injunction stopping it from taking effect on Friday.
Hood called Reeves’ ruling “straightforward and clear” and said his office was considering whether to appeal the entire decision or parts of it. He also made reference to North Carolina’s decision to allocate $500,000 to defend its own anti-LGBT legislation, saying he needed to “think long and hard” about whether to use taxpayer money to pursue the case.
“Even if we won and the injunction were set aside on appeal, the case would be remanded and proceed to trial over about two years,” Hood said. “Because of the huge tax breaks handed out to big corporations by these same leaders, the state is throwing mentally ill patients out on the street. This is hardly protecting the least among us as Jesus directed.”