ACLU files lawsuit against Mississippi over House Bill 1523

 

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi is pushing back against the Religious Accommodations Act or House Bill 1523.

The suit was filed on behalf of two ACLU members, Nykolas Alford and Stephen Thomas.

“This law makes us feel like second-class citizens.”

That’s what Nykolas Alford said about HB 1523.

Standing next to him, is his fiancé, Stephen Thomas.

They’ve been engaged for two years but together for over three.

“We should be treated the same as everyone else. Our love should be respected just the same,” said Alford.

On Monday, May 9, 2016, the couple went into the federal courthouse in downtown Jackson to file a lawsuit over the Religious Accommodations Act.

Governor Phil Bryant signed the bill in April 2016.

It allows religious groups and some private businesses to deny services to gay and transgender people.

“As it is written, HB 1523 creates a different set of rules for us than for heterosexual couples. It gives them the right to marginalize me and my partner and make us feel degraded,” said Alford.

“HB 1523, on its face, treats the marriages of same-sex couples differently than the marriage of everyone else,” said Jennifer Riley-Collins, the Executive Director for ACLU of Mississippi.

But that’s not what supporters of the law say.

They say that it protects people’s religious freedoms.

Governor Bryant responded to the suit today in a statement.

The ACLU continues its mission of trying to use the federal court system to push its liberal agenda. Instead of cherry-picking causes popular with the radical left, the ACLU should allocate its resources defending all civil liberties.

“We’re not going to show favoritism. We’re going to ensure that the state of Mississippi does not show favoritism. We are going to stand and we have stood by filing a lawsuit today in defense of freedom,” said Collins.

The law is supposed to go into effect Friday, July 1, 2016.

The ACLU hopes to stop that.

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