A federal judge banned on late Thursday night the new Mississippi law on same-sex marriage, which was scheduled to take effect on July 1. The southern state had previously proposed that marriage was exclusively for heterosexuals and that people could not change their gender, according to religious beliefs.
U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves said that Mississippi’s “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act” is a physical reaction to the legalization of same-sex marriage in the nation.
“In physics, every action has its equal and opposite reaction. In politics, every action has its predictable overreaction,” Reeves was quoted as saying by The Associated Press (AP).
The U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide on June 6, 2015. Mississippi State lawyers are planning to appeal Reeves’ ruling. The federal judge said the law violated the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee, which determines that laws are fair for everyone.
Mississippi regulators argued that marriage was only permitted between a woman and a man, that sex could only be practiced after marriage, and that people could not change their gender. Employees in the state would be allowed to deny marriage licenses to gay couples.
— Robbie Kaplan (@kaplanrobbie) July 1, 2016
Bakers in Mississippi could cite religious beliefs to not to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple. The latter would be prohibited from receiving fertility services, family counseling or adopting a child. The law also included regulations for transgender people.
The Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act said individuals who change their sex would be obligated to follow certain dress codes and bathroom behaviors.
“It does not honor that tradition of religion freedom,” Reeves wrote.
I have signed House Bill 1523. Full statement: pic.twitter.com/00DbgQADFt
— Phil Bryant (@PhilBryantMS) April 5, 2016
‘The law does not respect the equal dignity of all of Mississippi’s citizens’
Mississippi Republican Governor Phil Bryant signed the bill in April. He received support from conservative Christians. A group called The Family Research Council awarded him for supporting religious freedom.
Reeves said the law favored some doctrines over others.
“It defended Orthodox Judaism over Reform Judaism doctrine,” he was quoted as saying by AP.
Gov. Bryant has not commented on Friday’s ruling.
A section of the bill said that religious institutions must be allowed to deny a marriage license to a gay couple. Reeves said that decision was not new or controversial. Religious groups have that right under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, he added.
Reeves concluded that the law does not value the same interests as the State. He said the state should not discriminate people depending on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“It is not rationally related to a legitimate end,” he added, according to CNN.
— Matthew Breen (@matbreen) July 1, 2016
Douglas NeJaime, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, said last week that states in the nation had filled more than 100 bills after same-sex marriage was legalized last year.
Susan Hrostowski, an Episcopal priest who participated as a plaintiff in the case, said he supports the new court decision announced on Friday. He said he is a member of the LGBT community and that justice should always prevail, according to AP.
The law was banned on Thursday, minutes before midnight. Here is a video by Right Wing Watch, featuring Gov. Phil Bryant at a conference, where he presented his arguments to defend the anti LGBT-law:
Pentagon: transgender people can receive health care in the military
The Pentagon removed a law on Thursday that excluded transgender troops from receiving certain benefits. The U.S. military will now pay for transition services to members who want to change their gender.
Previously, transgender people were reflected as “medically unfit” to provide military service. Since October, transgender troops will be allowed to change their gender on the military database.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter said that new policies seek to expand inclusion in the army service. He said the force needs to have access to 100 percent of the United States population, to recruit the “most highly qualified and retain them.”
“The policies we’re issuing today will allow us to access talent of transgender service members to strengthen accomplishment of our mission,” Carter was quoted as saying by Military Times.
The Pentagon just lifted the ban on transgender Americans serving in the US militaryhttps://t.co/uwdI7phoCo
— Business Insider (@businessinsider) June 30, 2016
Military physicians, recruiters, commanders and the rank-and-file force will receive specialized training by the beginning of 2017. Officials calculated there are between 2,500 and 7,000 transgender troops in the current active-duty force of 1.3 million people, said Military Times.
Carter stated that even when the number is relatively small, transgender troops should be equally treated because they are also “talented and trained Americans who are serving the country with honor.”
He said there are transgender service members who deserve “more consistent guidance.” He added that implementing new policies would not be expensive. Providing medical service to people with gender dysphoria would add extra costs of $40,000 over the lifetime of a military member.
Transgender people can now openly serve in the US military. Here's what that meanshttps://t.co/IVXToqZzXJ
— Guardian US (@GuardianUS) July 1, 2016
Source: The Associated Press