An engaged same-sex couple in Mississippi today filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block the implementation of the state’s sweeping anti-LGBT “religious freedom” law before it takes effect July 1.
The federal complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, contends that Mississippi’s Protecting Freedom of Conscience From Government Discrimination Act, also known as House Bill 1523, violates the promises of equal protection guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
The named plaintiffs are Nykola Alford and Stephen Thomas (pictured above), who have been engaged for nearly two years, according to a press release from the American Civil Liberties Union and its Mississippi chapter, which is representing the couple.
“When HB 1523 passed, it was heartbreaking because it takes away our chance to finally be treated equally,” the couple said in the ACLU’s statement. “At a time when we’re supposed to be excited as a couple engaged to be married, this law permits discrimination against us simply because of who we are. This is not the Mississippi we’re proud to call home. We’re hopeful others will come to realize this and not allow this harmful measure to become law.”