MCPP Statement on the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Decision on HB1523

Jackson, MS – Mississippi Center for Public Policy (MCPP) President Forest Thigpen issued the following statement regarding today’s ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to restore the “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act (HB 1523),” a law passed in 2016, but suspended by a lower federal court before it took effect. HB 1523 was written to limit government action against people with sincerely held beliefs regarding marriage and sexuality.

Thigpen said, “While the Fifth Circuit did not engage on the merits of this case, it did reach the right conclusion by allowing the law to finally go into effect. This law strikes a balance between competing rights. It restrains government from penalizing people who hold sincere beliefs about marriage and gender.”

Thigpen said, “The court called the legal challenge to HB 1523 ‘quite radical,’ affirming that the plaintiffs have not suffered any injury from a law whose primary aim is to protect people from government discrimination. As the Court also observed, ‘HB 1523 does nothing to compel the behavior of these plaintiffs; it only restricts the actions of state government officials.’”