The Family Policy Alliance, the political arm of the Christian-based ministry Focus on the Family, said on June 27 that Mississippi's anti-LGBT law protects people (video below).
The New York Times reported on June 22 that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit lifted an injunction against the "Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act," which was signed by Republican Gov. Phil Bryant of Mississippi on April 5, 2016.
The law allows individuals, businesses and Mississippi government employees to discriminate against LGBT people based on religious beliefs.
According to a legal analysis by Columbia University in 2016, the law would allow religious-based organizations to discriminate against LGBT people in housing and employment, allow businesses to use religious beliefs to deny wedding-related services to LGBT couples, allow public school counselors to refuse to treat LGBT students, and could force social service agencies to place LGBT kids with adoptive or foster parents who are anti-gay.
Ashley Shaw, a legal expert for the Family Policy Alliance, said that Mississippi wanted to protect its citizens, businesses and religious organizations from being "punished by the government if they hold to a belief in a one-man, one-woman marriage."
As a matter of record, it's not legal to punish anyone in the U.S. for their religious or non-religious beliefs.
Shaw went on to describe discriminatory actions that religious people might take against gay people, but which would be protected by the Mississippi law:
They wanted to make sure an adoption agency could still operate under the belief that "we want our kids to be placed in homes where we have a married mom and dad," or a church can still operate under a belief of a one-man, one-woman marriage and not perform same-sex ceremonies in their building. This is what Mississippi was looking at, saying, "We want to protect our people."
Shaw said she agreed with the Fifth Circuit that there was no harm in the anti-gay law because "it's actually a good protective law."
The law was never actually enforced because a court injunction was placed on it the day before it went into effect, noted Reuters.
The Courier-Journal reported in 2015 that the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage did not affect religious wedding ceremonies at churches or synagogues, but was rather a ruling on civil marriages only.
In more religion news, Jason and David Benham stated on June 27: "Discrimination against gay people simply does not exist."
In an op-ed for Charisma News, the Christian activist brothers insisted that Christian business owners are not refusing to service to gay people: "Religious objections in the marketplace have nothing to do with refusing to service people. Rather, they have everything to do with forced participation in ceremonies, messages and events that are against believers' consciences."
Sources: Family Policy Alliance, The New York Times, The Courier-Journal via USA Today, Reuters via The Huffington Post, Charisma News via Google / Photo credit: Ted Eytan/Flickr, Tony Webster/Flickr, David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons