/Witness HB 1523 makes state unsafe for gays

Witness HB 1523 makes state unsafe for gays

Jocelyn Pritchett is a long-time resident of the state. She said that passage of HB 1523 has ennobled gay marriage opponents, making them more vocal and active. “There is an overall feeling that hatred towards us has escalated.” And we’re terrified,” Pritchett said. She said, “It just felt like the state will never cease pursuing this and (we have to get our children) somewhere they are safe.” Pritchett shared an emotional testimony, punctuated with pauses to wipe her eyes and regroup herself. Pritchett spoke about friends whose daughter was mocked in school by a teacher for having two mothers. The teacher said to the six-year old that her parents were not legally married. Pritchett then polled other students in class to find out that each student had a mom or a dad. Pritchett stated that the couple were afraid of the public when she asked them why they weren’t telling their story in court. Pritchett stated that they felt guilty for not testingify, but that they would not target their little girl’s back. Pritchett also said that she had seen flyers left by the Ku Klux Klan, Laurel, which threatened gays and lesbians. She said that she also has friends who are gay men in the Delta and they are afraid to go out for dinner. Pritchett’s testimony was not challenged by the attorneys who are defending the law on behalf of the state. Pritchett’s testimony concluded a long day of witnesses from plaintiffs in hearings regarding two lawsuits challenging House Bill 1523’s constitutionality. Douglas NeJaime, a UCLA professor of law and director at the Williams Institute, testified about the relationship between the Christian Right and the rise of “religious freedom laws.” Governor. In April, Phil Bryant signed HB 1523 into law. It singles out three “sincerely held religious beliefs” that are worthy of protection. These beliefs include that marriage is between one person and one woman; that no one should have sex with anyone outside of such marriages; that a person’s gender will be determined at birth; and that a person is married to one man. Anyone who speaks out against homosexual marriage or transgender people because of these beliefs is protected from lawsuits. These include county clerks who refuse to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples and public school teachers. Barber vs Bryant is a case in which multiple plaintiffs, including the Mississippi Center for Justice and Campaign for Southern Equality vs Bryant ask for a preliminary injunction to stop the law’s implementation. It takes effect July 1. They claim that promoting certain religious beliefs and disregarding others is a violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. This prohibits government from favouring any religion over the other. Four clergy members were included as witnesses by the plaintiffs to support their claim. Each of them testified that the law’s endorsement of “sincerely held religious beliefs” was contrary to their own. Rev. Rev. Hrostowski stated that this is “the Christian view” and that it condemns judgmentalism as Christians are. “And no. This is the antithesis to Jesus. This is the antithesis of Christianity. Both sides frequently cited the adoption lawsuit in which Campaign for Southern Equality was a plaintiff, as well as Pritchett, as an example of Mississippi discriminating against lesbians and gays. Douglas Miracle, representing Judy Moulder as the state registrar for vital records in Mississippi, and the attorney general, argued that HB1523 was a completely different animal. Miracle asked Hrostowski in cross-examination, “Unlike the adoption ban, 1523 does not have any similar convictions that prohibit you from doing anything.” Hrostowski agreed. Today’s hearing continues. The attorneys say that they expect Reeves to issue his ruling on the preliminary order before July 1.