Jul 14, 2017

Americans United for Separation of Church and State has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the Mississippi residents and organizations challenging the state’s House Bill 1523 – the misnamed “religious freedom” law that encourages discrimination in the name of religion.

“This law harms countless Mississippians by telling them that, because of someone else’s religion, they are not equal,” said Richard B. Katskee, legal director of Americans United. “Our laws should be a shield used to protect religious freedom, not a sword used to harm others.”

Americans United, joined by the Anti-Defamation League, filed the brief in the case Barber v. Bryant. We requested that the full 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals review the constitutionality of the law and strike it down once and for all.

AU’s brief notes the Mississippians who challenged this harmful law “wake up each day knowing that they are expressly disfavored." Not only can they expect to experience state-authorized discrimination, but they are already being harmed by a law that says they are “unworthy of equal dignity, equal citizenship, and equal protection of the laws.”

The brief was authored by Katskee and AU’s Associate Legal Director Alex J. Luchenitser and Legal Fellow Bradley Girard.