The Latest: Minister says blocked law mixed church and state


JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Latest on Mississippi’s religious objections bill (all times local):

10:20 a.m.

An ordained United Methodist minister who sued to block a Mississippi law dealing with religious objections to same-sex marriage says the law doesn’t represent the beliefs of her or many others.

Carol Burnett was in a diverse group of straight and gay plaintiffs who sued. She says legislators have no business passing a law favoring one set of religious beliefs over others.

The law would protect three beliefs: That marriage is only between a man and a woman; that sex should only take place in such a marriage; and that a person’s gender is determined at birth and cannot be altered.

After a federal judge blocked the law from taking effect Friday. Burnett says “when there is no separation of church and state there is no freedom of religion.”

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9:40 a.m.

The primary sponsor of a Mississippi law dealing with religious objections to same-sex marriage says he’s disappointed a federal judge blocked it.

House Speaker Philip Gunn, a Republican, said Friday that he and other sponsors thought it was “a good bill that focused on protecting religious beliefs, while also protecting the rights of the LGBT community.”

The law would protect three beliefs: That marriage is only between a man and a woman; that sex should only take place in such a marriage; and that a person’s gender is determined at birth and cannot be altered.

Gunn is a leader in his local Baptist church. The bill had significant support from Southern Baptists and Pentecostals in the state.

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8:05 a.m.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant says he’s disappointed by a federal judge’s ruling that blocks a law that would let merchants and government employees cite religious beliefs to deny or delay services to same-sex couples.

In a statement issued Friday morning, Bryant said he looks forward “to an aggressive appeal” of the ruling.

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves filed orders in two lawsuits blocking the law just moments before it was to take effect Friday.

The law would protect three beliefs: That marriage is only between a man and a woman; that sex should only take place in such a marriage; and that a person’s gender is determined at birth and cannot be altered.

Reeves wrote that the law is unconstitutional because “the state has put its thumb on the scale to favor some religious beliefs over others.”

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1 a.m.

A federal judge has blocked a Mississippi law that would let merchants and government employees cite religious beliefs to deny or delay services to same-sex couples.

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves filed orders in two lawsuits blocking the law just moments before it was to take effect Friday.

State attorneys are expected to appeal his decisions.

The law would protect three beliefs: That marriage is only between a man and a woman; that sex should only take place in such a marriage; and that a person’s gender is determined at birth and cannot be altered.

Reeves wrote that the law is unconstitutional because “the state has put its thumb on the scale to favor some religious beliefs over others.” He also wrote that it violates the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee.

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