Mississippi; Legislating Morality in the Face of the Law

The Mississippi legislature  has been called “backwards” and compared to hissing possums.

images possum

Unfortunately, Mississippi will again bear the brunt of ridicule. House Bill 1523, if signed into law, allows state employees, and other entities, to discriminate against other citizens based upon a “sincerely held religious belief” or “moral conviction.” This means that a State employee whose job is to issue marriage licenses, for instance, can refuse because they do not approve of your spouse.

The intent is to prevent persons from entering into a same-sex marriage in the Hospitality State. Incidentally, the United States Supreme Court found that marriage is a fundamental right under the Constitution. This bill, which seeks to infringe on that RIGHT also goes much further.  

If the State Employee does not want to issue you a license they can refuse for a same-sex marriage, can refuse if you were previously divorced, can refuse if you had sex out of wedlock, and I am sure there are other Leviticus-based  refusals.

This bill is simply pandering. It affords no real protections to any class in need of protection. It allows discrimination under the guise of faith. A faith which requires that we love our neighbor as ourselves, and teaches us that the one without sin may cast the first stone. It is an affront to the law.

This bill, if passes, guarantees the State will be sued and Mississippi will spend tens of thousands of dollars defending an indefensible position, to protect a class not in need of protection, to solve a problem that does not exist.

This is another example of Mississippi striving to fulfill her stereotypical destiny.

You can read the Bill here.

Matthew Thompson is an Adjunct Professor at MC Law and a Divorce Attorney encouraging you to believe in your beliefs, but follow the law.

Follow the blog: BowTieLawyer Visit the websiteThompson Law Firm  You may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at 

(601) 850-8000  or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms

6 thoughts on “Mississippi; Legislating Morality in the Face of the Law”

  1. I’m glad this law did not exist when I got married. The clerk might have refused us a license based on the fact my wife is a lot better looking than me, i.e. we are not equally yoked in the looks department.

    1. Another great example of the law of unintended consequences. The clerk could have refused you service because of their “moral conviction” that requires skin-deep parity in nuptials.
      I am glad, too, that you were successful in your marriage and continue to be!

  2. Interesting thoughts. Perhaps a follow-up post would be in order explaining why lines 122-126 and 137-140 do not say what they say that they say. Just sayin’.

    1. So what assurances do you have that someone will do their job? This proposed statute allows you, as the employee, to opt out. Presumably so can the next clerk and the next. Also, the fact that it is the State declaring it, through its employees, will not carry out an administrative task that is required to exercise a fundamental right is a big deal. I get that you do not think so, but the next person may think it is a big deal. I do appreciate your comment and think it was a thoughtful question, but overlooks whether its a violation of law, even if it provides a means for a “remedy.”

  3. woodn’t it be fun, then, if i refused service to sum-wun because (s)hee izz and/or wuzz a braying-dead (w)reddnick?! jes’ sayin’ …

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