Proponents claim the law is intended to protect citizens’ “sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction” not to provide public or private services to gay marriage couples. George Cochran of the University of Mississippi School of Law, a constitutional law professor, said that “this bill is incredibly inconstitutional.” Matthew Steffey, a Mississippi College School of Law Professor, believes that lightning will strike if the bill is signed into law. Steffey said that it was an easy-to win lawsuit. “This is political, and not legal.” Sen. Jenifer Brannning, R.Philadelphia, answered senators’ questions on Wednesday about HB1523. She stated that the measure was a response to Obergefell, a U.S. Supreme Court decision, which upheld same-sex marriage. Although the Senate made changes to the bill on Friday, the final House action was delayed until Monday. Gov. Phil Bryant must then decide whether or not to sign the bill. Mississippi Today reported Thursday that the ACLU, along with other groups, are planning to sue Bryant if Bryant signs this bill into law. Branning supported the legislation during debate Wednesday night, and in an interview on Thursday. He stated that the bill only protects religious and business organizations from government discrimination. Branning stated that people are mislead into believing that the bill is discriminatory. It doesn’t discriminate against anyone. It protects citizens of this state from discrimination by the government.” Steffey states that HB 1523 is not legal. He believes that HB 1523 serves no legal purpose. Any concerns about religious freedoms protection already exist in the Mississippi Religious Freedom Act, which was passed many years ago, and in federal law. Federal law supersedes all state laws. Steffey stated that a person’s religious beliefs are already protected from any government burdens. He said that HB 1523 was either redundant or insignificant. U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III ruled Thursday that a Mississippi ban against adoptions by same-sex couples was invalid. He stated that the state law, which has been in place since 2000, violates equal-protection provisions and due process provisions of U.S. Constitution. Steffey stated that HB 1523 raises the same issues. He said that existing law requires citizens to “treat all religions the same” and “treat all marriages equally”. Steffey also noted that even other Southern states know that such efforts like HB1523 can have serious consequences. These kinds of efforts either result in state treasuries paying legal fees for defending lawsuits, or in reducing economic development and tourism. Cochran expressed concern about the proposal. He said that the legislation “reflects a unique state power to declare war upon those who choose to engage in constitutionally-protected activity”. “It also gives the right to discriminate against those with’sincerely held religions or moral convictions’ without any further definition. He added, “Frightening.” To support this work, you can make a regular donation to us today as we celebrate our Spring Member Drive. This will allow us to continue important work such as this story. 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.