Churches and LGBT Individuals Not Allowed to Challenge Pro-Religious Mississippi Law

You may remember when the Supreme Court in 2015 declared that bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional. Well that decision was not particularly well-received in Mississippi.

Shortly after the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision, Mississippi enacted a law that enumerates three “sincerely held religious beliefs” entitled to legal protection. They are: (1) that marriage should be only between a man and a woman, (2) that sexual relations should be reserved to only such a marriage, and (3) that one’s gender should be determined only by one’s anatomy and genetics at time of birth.

Several churches, religious leaders, and LGBT individuals who do not share those views challenged the Mississippi law, arguing that it violated the Establishment Clause because it constituted an official government preference for certain religious tenets.

Pastor Brandiilyne (and her wife Susan, the choir director) of Joshua Generation Metro Community Church–one of the churches that challenged the Mississippi law

Although the lower District Court agreed and struck down the law, the Fifth Circuit reversed on procedural grounds (standing) because the plaintiffs failed to show that the law was injuring or would injure them in a “concrete” way, rather than in a “stigmatic” way.

Case: Barber v. Bryant, 16-60477 (5th Cir. June 22, 2017) (opinion here)

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