STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – We continue our two-part series, breaking down House Bill 1523.
Governor Phil Bryant signed the bill earlier this week.
“This bill provides them that defense,” said Attorney Lynn Spruill, with Mozingo Quarles, PLLC.
It’s a defense supporters say for organizations or individuals who have sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions, especially when it comes to placing children in new homes.
“State government shall not take any discriminatory action against a religious organization. So we’re still talking about religious organizations, as it relates to adoption or foster care,” said Spruill.
1523 would allow organizations to prevent children from going to homes, with parents that contradict with certain views.
“You can give or not give if you choose adoption or foster care service or a related service. Based on again, on this sincerely held belief,” said Spruill.
The new law also applies to individuals.
“Either they’re not married, they’re trans-gender or they are in a non-marriage relationship, then they can refuse service to them,” added Speuill.
The controversial legislation could also impact people in the doctor’s office.
“Probably, I think the state intended it to be for those who are going through sexual change or gender identification changes,” said Spruill.
There’s also counseling and fertility exemptions in the bill.
Refusing marriage services, such as a bakery not providing a cake, is also covered in 1523.
Spruill says it acts as a defense for those it covers.
“Where the baker supposedly was driven out of business because they got sued, they wouldn’t provide a cake or floral services or whatever it was,” said Spruill.
The bill also allows for business to continues to address employee and student dress and grooming, speech, conduct, and tax services.
To read the bill, visit http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/2016/pdf/history/HB/HB1523.xml