News (USA)

Mississippi will fight challenges to religious exemptions laws

During arguments in the Republican-led House and Senate, legislators did not say what would happen if all employees of a clerk’s office in a county file forms saying they have religious objections to issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The men suing the state , Nykolas Alford and Stephen Thomas, are both 26. They live in Meridian, have been engaged since 2014 and said they hope to marry in Mississippi in the next three years.

Miracle argues that the men’s case is built largely on hypothetical situations that might harm them at some unknown point in the future.

“The Supreme Court has consistently declined to find standing where an injury may occur at some unknown point in the future,” he wrote.

The day the suit was filed, Alford said he and Thomas, who are both African-American, grew up with grandparents who had faced racial discrimination. Alford said he and Thomas don’t want to face anti-gay bias.

“We thought that we would be equal, and here we are today saying that we’re not, and we want equality,” Alford said May 9 outside the federal courthouse in Jackson.

Court records show no hearing has been set for either lawsuit.

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant and other supporters of the Mississippi law say it will protect people’s religious belief that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. Opponents say it discriminates against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

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