Hood stated that “the federal court’s decision was simple and clear.” “The court cites statements made by legislators as well as the Governor and Lieutenant Governor. These statements, together with the definition of “sincerely held religious beliefs” in HB 1523 and their inclusion, were considered strong evidence that the law was not constitutional. Gov. Phil Bryant requested a vigorous appeal in a statement he made earlier Friday. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves called for an appeal on Friday. Hood continued, “In 2014 the state passed the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act. This gave citizens the right to sue the government in state court if their religious freedoms are being underutilized.” “The federal court noted that this act was already in place when officials made a second victory lap in order to regain the support of churchgoing citizens by passing HB1523 in an overtly politically motivated fashion.” Hood said, “I cannot pick my clients but I can speak on behalf of myself as a named plaintiff in this lawsuit. Hood, who is the only Democrat in the state’s elected office, stated that the churchgoing public believed that HB1523 protected religious liberty. “Our state leaders tried to trick pastors into believing that, if this bill was not passed they would have to preside at gay wedding ceremonies. In no court case has it been ruled that a pastor cannot refuse to marry any couple. “I hate it when politicians continue to prey upon people who pray, go church, follow law and help others.” His statement stated that his attorneys would evaluate the decision and decide whether to appeal any or all of Thursday’s ruling. “We intend to appeal the Court’s decision earlier this week to extend the injunction coverage circuit clerks, who weren’t parties to the case.” Hood stated that he believes in free exercise of religion. “I believe there will be a future case in which the U.S. Supreme Court better defines our religious rights.” Hood stated that this case is not such a vehicle. Hood stated that he would have to consider the individual rights of all citizens, the state’s budget crisis, and the cost to appeal. An appeal could result in the state paying hundreds of thousands of dollars. North Carolina, for example, has put aside $500,000 to defend its bathroom law. Even if the injunction was overturned on appeal, the case will be remanded to the original court and continue to trial for approximately two years,” the statement stated. The state is putting mentally ill people on the streets because of the tax breaks that these leaders gave big corporations. This is not protecting the least of us as Jesus instructed.” To support this important work, you can make a regular donation to our Spring Member Drive today. Our reporters give a human face to policy’s impact on everyday Mississippians by listening more closely and understanding their communities. To ensure that our work is aligned with the priorities and needs of all Mississippians, we are listening to you. Click the button below to let us know what you think.