/Sanderson Farms says HB 1523 does nothing but hurt economy

Sanderson Farms says HB 1523 does nothing but hurt economy

Sanderson Farms and 11 other prominent Mississippian businesses, including former Ambassador John Palmer, filed a brief to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, New Orleans, Friday. They stated that the “religious freedom law” “undermines Mississippi’s primary policy goal of expanding its economy.” The law does not have a legitimate secular purpose. And whatever purpose the state may think up, it is useless for the Legislature’s religiously motivated decision
to give favored status to one set of Christian beliefs
Concerning marriage and gender roles. “No avowed purpose will save HB1523 from scrutiny under Establishment Clause (of The Constitution),” said the parties in their brief. Governor Phil Bryant signed the bill. A federal judge rejected Phil Bryant’s April bill. Bryant appealed immediately to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Sanderson Farms brief was not addressed by the governor’s office. Friday marked the end of nearly two months worth of filings. Hundreds of Mississippi-based businesses and organizations drew battle line through briefs supporting or opposing HB 1523. The governor of Maine, Paul LePage (Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Nebraska), filed a high-profile brief supporting House Bill 1523. LePage and the states stated that they are interested in “protecting citizens’ rights” and that the federal court decision that overturned it “threatens citizens’ freedom of expression and religious-exercise right and the ability for States to enact legislation that protects their citizens’ rights.” No other states have passed similar legislation. House Bill 1523 protects three “sincerely held” religious beliefs: one man and one lady are married; people shouldn’t have sex in other marriages; and a person is born with a gender. These beliefs would be protected from lawsuit if anyone refuses to marry-related services. The law’s opponents claim that it unfairly targets transgender, gay and lesbian individuals for discrimination. The Constitutionality of the law was challenged by attorneys from the Campaign for Southern Equality, the Mississippi Center for Justice, and others in June. They argued that it violated the First, Fourteenth, and Fifth Amendments of the Constitution. Minutes before the law went into effect, U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves made a quick and detailed ruling. He stated that the law “doesn’t honor (the United States) tradition of religious freedom nor respects the equal dignity of all Mississippi citizens.” Bryant was joined by John Davis, executive director of Department of Human Services. Friday’s amicus brief sided with Campaign for Southern Equality, Mississippi Center for Justice and argued that promoting certain religious beliefs while disregarding others is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution. This prohibits the government from favoring any religion over the other. The Sanderson Farms brief also mentions instances of economic fallout after House Bill 1523 was passed. These include a few cancelled concerts, scrapped movie productions, and travel bans from U.S. states and cities like California, New York, and Washington, D.C. It states that “the economic impact in Mississippi was immediate,” especially for the state’s tourism and entertainment industries. Bryant spoke at the Mississippi Economic Council’s annual Hobnob in October about the state’s recent corporate hauls. He mentioned the Continental Tire plant, ABB in Senatobia, Raytheon, and Raytheon which will build fighter-jet training systems in Meridian. In December, Gov. Bryant announced that the state’s unemployment rate is now at 5.6 percent, which is the lowest it has been since 2004. “Have there been challenges in Mississippi?” Bryant stated in October that there were indeed challenges facing Mississippi. “… We’re making great progress.” In October, Bryant stated that “absolutely,”. The Fifth Circuit will hold the hearing for the first part of 2017. To support this work, you can make a regular donation to the Fifth Circuit today. This is in celebration of our Spring Member Drive. It will help us 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.