/Attorney General refuses to appeal HB 1523 lawsuit

Attorney General refuses to appeal HB 1523 lawsuit

Hood also fulfilled his promise to appeal an additional decision in which Reeves had said he would invalidate a section of House Bill 1523 that allowed clerks to withdraw from issuing marriage licenses for same-sex couples. Hood now states that he will appeal the decision of the federal court in this case. Both cases will be heard by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, New Orleans. Hood stated in a nine-paragraph statement that he was tired of fighting for “an empty bill” which had caused months of negative attention to Mississippi. Hood stated that HB 1523 had done nothing but tarnish Mississippi’s image and distract us from more urgent issues like decaying roads and bridges and underfunding public education. Hood also spoke out against the statement. The governor. Bryant stated in a statement that Hood’s refusal to fight for a law he claimed was only intended to protect Mississippians’ religious rights was frustrating. “I am clearly disappointed that the attorney general has abandoned his duty of defending the constitutionality a duly enacted law. Bryant stated in his statement that this appeal concerns the state’s legitimate interests in protecting religious liberty, not political posturing regarding tax reform or state budget. Bryant appealed Judge Reeves decision last week. The governor is represented by two St. Louis-based private attorneys. A second defendant is Jim Davis, the executive director of Department of Human Services. Davis announced Tuesday that he will join the governor’s appeal. The governor stated that the attorneys are pro bono. From the time Judge Reeves made his June 30 decision, the attorney general had expressed doubts about whether an appeal was meritorious. Hood stated in a July 1 statement that Hood found the decision “straightforward” and clear and called House Bill 1523 misleading and unnecessary. Hood stated that while he cannot pick his clients, he could speak for himself as a named defendant in the lawsuit. Hood stated that Hood was a victim of a deception that believed HB1523 protected religious freedoms. Hood stated that he hates to see politicians continue preying on people who pray, attend church, follow the law, and help others. Hood was speaking at a luncheon hosted by the Stennis Institute last Wednesday. Hood stated that although he believed that his office had provided a strong defense for the law during the court hearings held June 23-24, Judge Reeves’ ruling. However, the defense could not overcome the perception that the law’s intent was to harm. Hood said that he believes his office had presented a strong defense of the law during court hearings June 23-24, but that it was not enough to overcome the perception that the law’s intent was to do harm. Hood stated that Judge Reeves made a clear decision on HB1523 based on the evidence. House Bill 1523 was signed into law by Gov. Bryant signed House Bill 1523 into law in April. It singles out three “sincerely held” religious beliefs that are worthy of protection. These include that marriage is between one woman and one man; that people shouldn’t have sex outside of marriages; that gender is determined at birth. Anyone who rejects marriage-related services due to these beliefs would be protected from lawsuits. Opponents claim that this discriminates against gay, lesbian, and transgender people. Four lawsuits have been filed since then against House Bill 1523. In May, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a first injunction to prevent the law’s implementation on July 1. Reeves, who was in charge of all cases against House Bill 15,23, denied the request, stating that the plaintiffs had not proven they were in immediate danger. Judge Reeves then issued his decision at the end June. He indicated that he would nullify the section of the bill that allowed clerks not to issue marriage licenses to identical-sex couples. The ruling did not touch any other aspects of the law than the one relating to clerks. Private business owners such as caterers and other state officials such as counselors in public schools were still permitted to refuse to provide marriage-related services for same-sex couples. Hood’s decision to not appeal the House Bill 1523 was invalid. Barber v. Bryant III and Campaign for Southern Equality III were the two lawsuits that it addressed. They argued it violated both the Establishment Clause and the Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. These laws prohibit government from favoring any religion or group of citizens above others. It is not the first instance Gov. Bryant and Hood disagree on whether to sue. Hood refused to join 12 states that asked for a temporary injunction against the Obama administration’s federal guidelines, which directed schools to allow transgender students to use facilities that are compatible with their gender identity. Bryant was signed on as a single side. In 2012, Hood declined to join Bryant in a multi-state suit against the Affordable Care Act. Hood declined to sign on with Bryant in a Texas federal lawsuit against President Obama’s executive order on immigration. These lawsuits produced mixed results. The temporary injunction regarding guidelines for transgender students has not yet been ruled on by a judge. In 2012, however, a federal judge dismissed Gov. Bryant’s claim regarding the Affordable Care Act was dismissed by a federal judge, who ruled that Bryant did not have standing. In a tie, the Supreme Court upheld the Fifth Circuit’s blocking of President Obama’s immigration plan. To support this important work, you can make a regular donation to the 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 Mississippians, we are listening to you. Click the button below to let us know what you think. Republish this Story