Scholars File Amici Brief On Constitutionality of Mississippi Statute

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Adam P. Romero, Arnold D. Kassoy Scholar of Law and Senior Counsel, is one of the authors of the brief.

On December 22, 2016, 82 scholars who study the LGBT population–many of whom are affiliated with the Williams Institute–filed an amici curiae brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Barber v. Bryant and Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant. These appeals concern the constitutionality of Mississippi’s House Bill 1523, which elevates three anti-LGBT religious beliefs for special protection under Mississippi law.  In their amici brief, the scholars provide the court with relevant demographic data, social science research, and legal authority to assist the court in its consideration of the constitutionality of HB 1523 by presenting a fuller picture of Mississippi’s LGBT citizens and the long history of discrimination that they have faced.

According to the brief, 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.  In turn, HB 1523 also jeopardizes thousands of children who are being raised by LGBT parents in Mississippi.  Research demonstrates that LGBT people and their families in Mississippi are socially and economically disadvantaged, and have been subject to a long history of discrimination, prejudice, and violence.  Thus, far from granting LGBT people “equal dignity in the eyes of the law,” Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S. Ct. 2584, 2608 (2015), HB 1523 entrenches harmful discrimination against LGBT people and their families.

The brief was authored by Adam P. Romero, Senior Counsel and Arnold D. Kassoy Scholar of Law at the Williams Institute, and pro bono co-counsel from Latham & Watkins.

Read the brief.