Supreme Court says 'no' to LGBT supporters appealing Mississippi's 'religious freedom' law

Supreme Court says 'no' to LGBT supporters appealing Mississippi's 'religious freedom' law

The Supreme Court says it will not take up a challenge to a MS law that allows businesses and government officials to deny services to LGBT people if doing so would conflict with certain "sincerely held" religious beliefs.

In 2013, a two-judge bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and S.J. Mukhopadaya had ruled that Section 377 of the IPC was illegal, overturning a judgment of a three-judge bench of the Delhi high court which had decriminalised gay sex.

Earlier this term, in December 2017, the justices declined to review a Texas Supreme Court ruling which found that state and local governments may be able to deny marriage benefits to LGBT public employees.

With the apex court referring the matter to a larger bench, here is a quick recap of the controversial law's recent history through five must-know latest developments. "The time has come that either the courts must read down Section 377 or the government should repeal it from the IPC".

The controversial Section 377 bans the sexual activities that are "against the order of nature".

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The Supreme Court declined to take up a challenge to a MS law Monday allowing government workers to refuse wedding-related services to LGBT couples on religious grounds.

But the Fifth Circuit appeals court did not agree.

The supreme court observed in 2013 that fewer than 200 people had been convicted for homosexual acts under the legislation but activists say it is regularly used to blackmail and intimidate LBGTI Indians as well as to stymie HIV/Aids prevention efforts.

Reopening the debate on Indian Penal Code's Article 377, the three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by CJI Dipak Misra said, "it would reconsider and examine the Constitutional validity of section 377". Unfortunately, the Supreme Court's decision today leaves LGBT people in MS in the crosshairs of hate and humiliation, delaying justice and equality.

A law in MS called the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act, enacted in April 2016, notes that the state cannot punish citizens, public servants, businesses, and religious institutions who oppose same-sex marriage, homosexuality and transgender rights. "The people of Mississippi have the right to ensure that all of our citizens are free to peacefully live and work without fear of being punished for their sincerely held religious beliefs", Bryant said, according to Mississippi Today. "We think it appropriate to send this issue to a larger bench", they said.

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