|TX Attorney General Ken Paxton|
Joined Thursday by Republican officials from eight other states, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton urged a federal appeals court to reinstate a Mississippi law that had been struck down as discriminatory against gay and transgender people.
The Mississippi law, Paxton told the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a legal brief, was intended to protect citizens from being forced by the government into taking actions that violate their religious beliefs, particularly if they oppose same-sex marriage.
“Americans have the right to peacefully live and work according to their deeply held beliefs, in accordance with the religious freedoms enshrined in our Constitution,” Paxton said.
Although civil rights and gay rights advocates say the Mississippi law allowed for government-sanctioned discrimination, socially conservative Republicans in Texas have vowed to pass similar laws when the Legislature convenes in January — a strategy that would be endangered if the appeals court ruled that the Mississippi law was unconstitutional. Precedents set by the 5th Circuit apply to Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
. . . The law, passed in March, would have allowed businesses to refuse to serve gay people and let government employees decline to issue same-sex marriage licenses as long as somebody else in the office was available to perform the task. Those who speak out against gay or transgender people also would have been protected from lawsuits and other reprisals.
Hours before it was to take effect July 1, however, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves blocked enforcement of HB 1523, saying it violated the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law by allowing for government-approved discrimination against gay, transgender and unmarried people.
Apparently Paxton believes that lgbts should sacrifice our dignity and rights as American citizens because of other people's religious prejudices. The court was right to strike this law down and I don't envision them reinstating it.