Supreme Court Refused To Block Mississippi's Discriminatory Religious Freedom Law

09 January, 2018, 02:04 | Author: Phil Peters
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The Supreme Court of India announced Monday that it would reconsider its 2013 ruling upholding Section 377, a colonial-era law criminalizing same-sex sexual relations.

"Unfortunately, the Supreme Court's decision today leaves LGBT people in MS in the crosshairs of hate and humiliation, delaying justice and equality", said Beth Littrell of Lambda Legal.

Most recently, it was on 24 August 2017 that the Supreme Court ruled that the "Right to Privacy" was a fundamental right, called for equality and condemned discrimination.

In the 2013 judgment, the two judge bench of justices GS Singhvi and SJ Mukhopadhaya had argued that in 150 years, less than 200 persons had been prosecuted under Article 377. In a surprise ruling in 2013, the Supreme Court had reinstated a ban on gay sex after a four-year period of decriminalisation that had helped bring homosexuality into the open. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court's decision today leaves LGBT people in MS in the crosshairs of hate and humiliation, delaying justice and equality. "Because of that, we are pleased that the Supreme Court declined to take up these baseless challenges, which misrepresented the law's sole objective of ensuring that Mississippians don't live in fear of losing their careers or their businesses simply for affirming marriage as a husband-wife union". The petitioners had told the court they were living in constant fear of police action due to their sexual orientation. The apex court has now chose to constitute a bench to review Section 377.

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"We had challenged it before it went into effect. before people were hurt and turned away and left without all the access to health care and government services that everyone else has", says Beth Littrell, a lawyer for Lambda Legal, a legal organization that advocates for LGBT people. Several supreme court judges noted that sexual orientation fell under the privacy umbrella.

The Mississippi law, by contrast, gives priority to religious rights.

The court also issued a notice to the Centre seeking its response to a writ petition filed by five members of the LGBT community. It also includes a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.

He said the law's only objective was guaranteeing "that Mississippians don't live in fear of losing their careers or their businesses simply for affirming marriage as a husband-wife union". "We think it appropriate to send this issue to a larger bench", they said.

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