The legal team of Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant is in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit defending House Bill 1523, a law which would allow people to discriminate against same-sex couples, transgender people and premarital sex on the basis of “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions”.
Although the state legislature passed HB 1523 last April, less than two months later a U.S. District Judge blocked the law, stating that it “violates both the guarantee of religious neutrality and the promise of equal protection of the laws”.
Now the team is defending the law using some illogical reasoning. Here’s three of the most insane defenses in the brief they filed:
— They say that the law doesn’t violate religious neutrality by promoting certain religious views over others ones, even though it promotes religious views opposing LGBTQ identity and premarital sex.
— The lawyers say that LGBTQ people aren’t a protected class because LGBTQ identity is a choice and that Christians are experiencing ‘political powerlessness’ at the hands of homosexuals with “enormous political clout”. Put another way, they’re saying that businesses should be allowed to discriminate against sexual and gender minorities because LGBTQ people are good at organizing political support. Last time we checked, America had over 226 million Christians and only about 12 million LGBTQ people, so Christians are hardly an oppressed minority with no political power.
— They say that LGBTQ people don’t deserve legal protection because homosexuality is a choice that can be changed. They also call transgender identity a “behavior”. This shouldn’t really surprise anyone considering that Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBTQ legal group, helped author the bill; they support so-called ex-gay therapy.
Lastly, state lawyers are also saying that the worries of businesses discriminating against LGBTQ couples are “hysterical” even though that’s exactly what the law was designed to allow.