The SCOTUS has refused to take up Mississippi’s heinous We Don’t Serve Your Kind law (HB 1523), which “allows businesses and government officials to deny services to LGBT people if doing so would conflict with certain “sincerely held” religious beliefs.”
So by rejecting the case, the SCOTUS leaves in place a federal appeals court decision that allowed the law to take effect.
The law will allow anyone to deny services of any sort—from medical care (including pharmacies) to housing and employment—to LGBTQ people. But there is a quirky legalistic aspect to this SCOTUS ruling:
The federal appeals court did not rule last year on the constitutionality of the law, known as HB 1523; it ruled that the plaintiffs did not have standing to challenge the law. The decision was about two similar lawsuits against HB 1523 – Barber v. Bryantand Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant – both of which the Supreme Court said Monday that it would not take up.
And Lambda Legal clarifies:
“We had challenged [the law] 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.
In short, because no one had yet been rejected from having services, no one had been hurt, and therefore no one had standing to challenge the law. It seems perverse that someone has to be thrown out of an Emergency Room or denied a Public Defender, or have the fire department not put out your house fire before they have cause to say that the potential to be harmed matters, but that’s where we are.