It’s been a good day in the courts

Mississippi passed a bad law. HB1523 said that employees of the state did not have to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples if they had a sincere belief that it was wrong, where those sincere beliefs were:

(a) Marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman;

(b) Sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage; and

(c) Male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.

So if we assume those premises, those premises are legally valid because we’ve assumed them, and you don’t have to do the job you were hired to do if you don’t want to do the job you were hired to do. Tautology seems to be a way of life among good Christians.

Good news, though: a federal judge has ruled that Mississippi cannot do that. Start issuing those marriage licenses, clerks!

Courtesy of Equality Case Files


  1. archangelospumoni says

    I sorta like Drumpfh’s definition of the sacred marriage contact: a marriage between one man and one series of progressively younger women.

  2. wzrd1 says

    Thanks for providing the court’s decision, far too many sites don’t bother with that and only tell one and all the writer’s opinion of what the jurist said, rather than attaching the decision as you did.

    To judge from the language, the judge was quite irritated over the attempted end-around by the state of the orders of the court.
    As Trump recently learned, *don’t piss off the judge*!

    Good for the people of Mississippi! Perhaps now, the state legislature can find time to address the state’s developing nation infant mortality rate, now that they’ve had their attempted interference with a federal court’s orders torpedoed.

  3. Larry says

    Perhaps now, the state legislature can find time to address the state’s developing nation infant mortality rate

    I wouldn’t bet on it. I’m sure that their new focus will be enforcing who is eligible to use which public toilet. Ensuring healthy children pales in importance to that.

  4. Usernames! (╯°□°)╯︵ ʎuʎbosıɯ says

    So, let me get this straight: if a cis Female and post-op male want to get married, they can’t because of (C). But if a cis Female and post-op female want to, they can.

    Alrighty then.

  5. numerobis says

    Usernames@5: a friend of mine was married to a woman years before gay marriage was legalized in their state because of exactly that; her partner transitioned after they married, and they were able to maintain the relationship.

  6. A. Noyd says

    How about we give ’em (b) if they and their coreligionists can all manage to actually practice it for a few years?

  7. Scott John Harrison says

    Whatever the plug in is you are using to attach the PDF – it is automatically downloading it to my computer whenever I view the blog post – Including viewing it in the RSS feed.

  8. blf says

    Whatever the plug in is you are using to attach the PDF — it is automatically downloading it to my computer whenever I view the blog post

    Ah! So I’m not the only one with the problem. I don’t have to specifically open the OP, just viewing the Pharyngula front page is sufficient to trigger a download (presumably because the OP / ruling is still on the front page?). It’s bloody annoying.

    I seriously doubt it’s my own local settings — I hate auto-downloads (and auto-play) — but admit I haven’t double-checked.

    (I can neither confirm nor deny there is a problem with RSS as well, as I don’t use RSS.)

  9. unclefrogy says

    I really do not understand how the religious fanatics think. How could they think that it makes any sense.
    They lost in court it is legal for people to get married so the government has to issue licenses.
    its like they think it would be perfectly OK if a vegetarian went to work at a slaughter house and then refuse to slaughter any animals nor quit the job ?
    if it is really going to be some kind of protest then you should be willing to go to jail and or expect to get even worse treatment (like their jesus and saints). That has already happened on the other side however and the court and public opinion has changed. They don’t seem to really have the courage of their faith
    uncle frogy

  10. DonDueed says

    uncle, I’d say it’s more like they went to work in a veggie processing plant, then the company started a second line that processes meat. They want to be able to only work on the veggie line.

    While that seems reasonable enough, the analogy breaks down because the food processor is a private business whereas issuing marriage licenses is a government function. Besides, the people who want to get married are human beings, not cattle. Although some government offices I’ve visited would make you wonder, what with the way they treat you.

  11. ck, the Irate Lump says

    Curious (not really) that they had to spell out which specific sincere beliefs about the sanctity of marriage would be protected. Almost like they were aware of other sincere beliefs they wanted no part in defending. I wonder what those could be…

  12. rrhain says

    While the ruling is correct, let’s not pretend it does something it doesn’t.

    The law is that same-sex and mixed-sex couples must be treated the same with regard to marriage licenses. Thus, a clerk cannot deny processing the paperwork for a same-sex couple seeking to get married claiming a “sincere religious belief” while continuing to do so for mixed-sex couples.

    Thus, all they have to do is stop doing marriage licenses all together. And they can make that claim the moment a same-sex couple comes to the window to get their paperwork processed.

    This means a same-sex couple can still be refused a marriage license by the clerk. They will then have to find a clerk who is willing to process the paperwork (of which there may be none in the office they have gone to). But since the clerk doesn’t have to declare their recusal until they are faced with the need to do so, who is to say they won’t immediately go back to processing the licenses of mixed-sex couples? One would have to then examine the records to determine which clerks are violating their recusals.

    What this ruling does NOT do is demand a clerk process the paperwork (“Do your job.”) Instead, all it says is that the clerk must either do all the paperwork or none. I doubt the courts have the ability to claim that filing paperwork for a marriage license is a required duty of a clerk and if the local office doesn’t mind that they aren’t doing marriages, then gay people are still being discriminated against and there is nothing that can be done about it.

  13. Mrdead Inmypocket says

    I always thought I was atheist to my very heart. But last summer as I was walking along this seawall with a 30 foot drop I slipped. As I fell I grabbed the edge. For a moment I thought to myself “I want to deny LBGTQ people their civil rights!!!” But just for a moment. Maybe I’m religious after all.

  14. John Morales says

    Mrdead Inmypocket, you thought you were atheist, then you thought you wanted to deny LBGTQ people their civil rights, so now you imagine you might be religious?

    (This implies you also imagine it is inconceivable that an atheist might wish to deny LBGTQ people their civil rights. You might want to reconsider that.)

  15. rrhain says

    @16, John Morales:
    Indeed, atheism isn’t a guarantee of being supportive of gay people, but they are the religious group most likely to do so (94%, along with agnostics), according to Pew.

  16. Mrdead Inmypocket says

    @16 John Morales.

    It was humor, John. I was being facetious. You have to read it in the context of PZ’s write up.

  17. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    More good news from the courts: Judge blocks Indiana genetic abnormality abortion law.

    A federal judge blocked an Indiana law Thursday that would have banned abortions sought because of a fetus’ genetic abnormalities, saying that the state does not have the authority to limit a woman’s reasons for ending a pregnancy.
    U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt granted a preliminary injunction sought by Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, which argued that the law was unconstitutional and violated women’s privacy rights. The law was set to take effect Friday.
    North Dakota is the only other state that prohibits abortions because of genetic abnormalities such as Down syndrome or because of the race, gender or ancestry of a fetus.
    Pratt said the Indiana law would go against U.S. Supreme Court rulings that have declared states may not prohibit a woman from seeking an abortion before fetal viability. He also said the state had not cited any exceptions to that standard.
    “This is unsurprising given that it is a woman’s right to choose an abortion that is protected, which, of course, leaves no room for the state to examine the basis or bases upon which a woman makes her choice,” Pratt wrote.

    Crystal Clear Logic, but lost on True Believers™.