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Appeals Court Denies Request To Allow Mississippi To Enforce Anti-LGBT Law During Appeal

Gov. Phil Bryant had asked the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to enforce HB 1523, passed earlier this year, while appealing a trial court ruling against the law.

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WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court on Friday denied Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant's request that the state be allowed to enforce a recently passed anti-LGBT religious exemption law while the state appeals a trial court's order halting enforcement of that law.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, in denying the request for a stay pending appeal, also denied the governor's request to expedite the appeal.

Bryant signed the bill, HB 1523, into law on April 5. The bill provided protections for individuals, religious organizations, and certain businesses who take actions due to their “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions” regarding same-sex marriage — or any sex outside straight marriage. It also provided similar protections for those who object to transgender people.

The trial court judge who halted enforcement of the law on the night before it was due to go into effect, U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves, denied the request for a stay pending appeal on Aug. 1.

Friday's order came from a three-judge panel of the appeals court: Judges James Dennis, Catharina Haynes, and James Graves. Dennis was nominated to the bench by President Clinton, Hanes by President George W. Bush, and Graves by President Obama.

Bryant now could seek a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court or proceed with the state's appeal without being able to enforce the law in the meantime.

Read the ruling:

Read the secondary appeal order:

Chris Geidner is the legal editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC. In 2014, Geidner won the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association award for journalist of the year.

Contact Chris Geidner at chris.geidner@buzzfeed.com.

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