Amicus Brief

Barber v. Bryant: Amicus Brief

December 2016

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit addresses the constitutionality of Mississippi’s House Bill 1523, which elevates anti-religious beliefs for special protections under Mississippi law.

  • Adam P. Romero
    Legal Scholarship & Federal Policy Director, Former
Amicus Brief

LGBT plaintiffs in Mississippi filed a suit challenging a state law that prohibited discrimination against any individual who acts in accordance with religious beliefs regarding marriage or relationships between same-sex couples and the immutability of biological/birth sex. The plaintiffs argued that the statute violated the Equal Protection and Establishment Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

HB 1523 demeans and disadvantages approximately 74,500 LGBT adults, thousands of whom are in same-sex marriages, and tens of thousands of LGBT youth and young adults in Mississippi. HB 1523 also jeopardizes thousands of children who are being raised by LGBT parents in Mississippi.

The brief provides relevant demographic data, social science research, and legal authority to assist the court in its consideration of the constitutionality of HB 1523. The brief presents a profile of Mississippi’s LGBT citizens and documents the long history of discrimination, prejudice, and violence that they have faced. The brief concludes that HB 1523 violates the Equal Protection and Establishment Clauses of the U.S. Constitution by elevating certain religious beliefs over others and by demeaning and disadvantaging LGBT people in the state.

Download the amicus brief

Barber v. Bryant: Amicus Brief