When Constitutional Rights Conflict

By Mississippi Center for Public Policy
April 25, 2016

By Forest Thigpen

To hear this commentary click here.

What happens when two Constitutional rights are in conflict?

After the Roe v. Wade abortion decision, the federal government and almost all states enacted conscience protections for health professionals whose deeply-held beliefs or moral convictions would not allow them to assist in performing an abortion.

Last year, another Supreme Court decision created potential conflicts for people of faith. There now exists the freedom of religion and the freedom of same-sex couples to marry. What happens when those two rights conflict?

HB 1523 provides the framework for addressing that question so that both of those rights can be exercised.

If bakers and florists choose not to be involved in a same-sex wedding, the same-sex couple will still be able to exercise their right to get married. But if the government were to force the bakers and florists to participate, those business owners would not be allowed to exercise their right to the free exercise of religion.

For more perspective on this issue, and to read the bill for yourself, go to mspolicy.org.


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