Supreme Court to review 2013 verdict that upheld Section 377

Supreme Court to review 2013 verdict that upheld Section 377

Supreme Court to review 2013 verdict that upheld Section 377

The US Supreme Court on Monday ended the first legal challenge to a Republican-backed MS law that permits businesses and government employees to refuse to serve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people due to their religious beliefs.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the law to take effect in June 2017, finding that the plaintiffs lacked standing because they could not identify an entity that invoked the law against them. It came into force in October.

The Mississippi Center for Justice and Lambda Legal joined civil-rights attorney Rob McDuff of Jackson in filing the appeal to the Supreme Court on behalf of 11 individuals, while the Joshua Generation Metropolitan Community Church and Campaign for Southern Equality appealed the law's constitutionality.

The Supreme Court today announced a review of the controversial ban on gay sex saying no one should have to live in fear due to their sexuality. But lower courts, without ruling on the merits of the law, said those suing could not show that they would be harmed by it. The appellate judges did not rule on the law's substance. Lawyer Anand Grover, who appeared for five members of the LGBT community who had petitioned the court seeking a review of the ban, said: "It is a big relief and a primary step taken by the Supreme Court to review its earlier order". "What is natural to one may not be natural to others", the top court said. "The stigma itself of targeting LGBT people and saying that if you don't like them, you don't have to deal with them, is unsafe and harmful".

The Nationalist Congress Party, however, urged the court to consider the "sentimental and religious" impact of any landmark decision. For more than half the countries in the world that have such a sodomy law, British colonialism was the origin, and nearly 70 percent of those British sodomy laws are still in effect.

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Supporters call it a religious liberty law that protects the sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions of individuals and businesses.

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Despite this setback for LGBTQ supporters, there are still many legal challenges waiting for the religious freedom law. Opponents said it authorises discrimination against LGBT people in violation of the US Constitution's guarantees of equal protection under the law and the separation of church and state.

It could also impact bathroom policies for transgender people.

The BJP also said it welcomes the decision. As NPR's Camila Domonoske has reported, "many of these forms of discrimination against gay and trans people are now legal in MS, and in many other states. The Golden Eagles were set to pay three home games in February against Stony Brook university in Long Island, New York, but all non-essential state travel to MS was banned by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo because of HB 1523". Some high-profile Bollywood films have dealt with gay issues.

In a similar vein, the justices are now resolving a case from Colorado, involving a Christian baker who declined to produce a custom wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

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