Supreme Court refuses to hear challenge to Mississippi anti-LGBTQ law

HB 1523 allows individuals, businesses, and religious-affiliated organizations to openly discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community

NEW YORK - GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, today released a statement after the Supreme Court of the United States refused to hear a challenge to Mississippi’s HB 1523, which grants Mississippians the ability to use religious exemptions to deny LGBTQ people employment, housing, adoption rights, marriage licenses, and even services at a local business.

“This latest punt on LGBTQ rights by the nation’s highest court promotes state-stationed discrimination by upholding a law that allows hotels, ER doctors, business owners, and even pediatricians to legally deny services to hardworking LGBTQ families in Mississippi,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD. “While freedom of religion is a fundamental right, it should never give people the right to impose their belief on others and openly discriminate against others in the name of religious exemptions.”

HB 1523 is in direct contradiction to a recent study by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) which showed that a majority of Americans oppose anti-LGBTQ “religious exemption” laws. PRRI also found that 72% of Americans support laws that protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. This includes six out of ten (60%) Republicans and 81% of Democrats.

Since the HB 1523 debate began, GLAAD has been on the ground in Mississippi working with local organizations like the Mississippi Gulf Coast Rainbow Center, the Spectrum Center, and Joshua Generation MCC to help accelerate acceptance for LGBTQ people in the state and protect them from discrimination. From launching a #MyMississippi campaign, a campaign geared to amplify voices of LGBTQ Mississippians; releasing a media resource guide on LGBTQ people living in the state; to co-hosting a United Against Hate rally against HB 1523 last December; GLAAD has been with LGBTQ Mississippians to fight back against this discriminatory “religious exemptions” agenda and will continue to complement and amplify their efforts.