Video: Legal Expert Breaks Down HB 1523, Pt. 1

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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – House Bill 1523 is named the “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act.”

Attorney Lynn Spruill explains what it covers.

“If you don’t want to do this, you don’t have to do this and you should not be sued over it and if you are, this is your defense to that,” said Spruill with Mozingo Quarles, PLLC.

People with religious beliefs or moral convictions are protected by the bill.

They can legally decline services people aren’t in line with their beliefs.

“Essentially, it is the one man, one woman, it is that they should be married and that it also is a sincerely held belief. It is the anatomical structure of the human when they were born is what determines whether they’re a man or a woman,” said Spruill.

The legislation also says government will not take discriminatory action against religious organizations.

“Providing marriage services, providing accommodation,  or facilities, or goods, or privileges as it relates to marriage services. And that’s between again, we go back to someone other than the union of a man and a woman,” said Spruill.

Although circuit clerks can legally decline to sign a marriage certificate, they must have someone else who can without slowing the process.

“Say if Kim Davis doesn’t want to give that marriage license, shall which means they absolutely must take all necessary steps to ensure that the authorizations and licensing of the legally valid marriage must be able to take place without being impede or delayed. So, he can pass it off to one of his clerks,” said Spruill.

Also covered in the bill, employers can hire, terminate or discipline an individual if their religious beliefs are inconsistent with the person who hired them.

The next point addresses rental and sale properties.

“I think the Methodist church here in town rents some apartments. So if they chose to say ‘no I’m not going to rent to you because you are either A) not a union of one man and one woman in your original state or that you might be having sexual relations outside of this marriage union, then they can potentially have a defense for having done so,” said Spruill.

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