Mississippi News Now reports:
Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood says he doesn’t know if his office will appeal a federal judge’s ruling that blocked a state law dealing with religious objections to gay marriage.
Hood is the only Democrat in statewide office, and his staff had defended the law that was passed by the Republican-majority Legislature and signed by a Republican governor.
But, after U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves wrote a sharply worded order blocking the law, Hood said Friday that “the churchgoing public was duped” into thinking the law would protect religious freedoms.
Hood says an appeal could cost tens of thousands of dollars, and that might not be a good use of tax dollars when the state budget is tight and services such as mental health care are being cut.
From Hood’s press release:
“Our attorneys will evaluate this decision to determine whether or not to appeal all or parts of Thursday’s ruling. We do intend to appeal the Court’s decision earlier in the week to extend the injunction to cover circuit clerks, who were never parties to the case.
“I believe in the free exercise of religion and there will be a case in the future in which the U.S. Supreme Court will better define our religious rights. This case, however, is not that vehicle.
“In consideration of the individual rights of all our citizens, the state’s current budget crisis and the cost of appeal, I will have to think long and hard about spending taxpayer money to appeal the case against me. An appeal could cost the state hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“For example, North Carolina has set aside $500,000 for defense of its bathroom law. Even if we won and the injunction were set aside on appeal, the case would be remanded and proceed to trial over about two years.
“Because of the huge tax breaks handed out to big corporations by these same leaders, the state is throwing mentally ill patients out on the street. This is hardly protecting the least among us as Jesus directed.”