AU Joins Suit Challenging Miss. ‘Religious Freedom’ Law

Americans United has joined a legal effort to stop a Mississippi law that critics say allows discrimination against LGBTQ people in the name of religion.

The law, which Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) signed in April 2016, allows religiously affiliated individuals, employers, healthcare providers and others to refuse to serve or help LGBTQ people, even if they receive taxpayer funds. In June, a federal district court declared the law unconstitutional, and the Barber v. Bryant case is on appeal to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Americans United joined a friend-of-the-court brief that was filed Dec. 23. The brief urges the appeals court to strike down the law “because it uses religion as an excuse to sanction discrimination,” AU Assistant Legislative Director Dena Sher wrote in a blog post that ran Dec. 28 on AU’s Protect Thy Neighbor website.

“We know we’ll face more efforts to misuse religious freedom to justify discrimination,” Sher wrote. “Just like we have in the past, we’ll fight back.”