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Barber v. Bryant

Lambda Legal joined Barber v. Bryant, the federal challenge to HB 1523, Mississippi’s discriminatory anti-LGBT legislation, which was brought by Mississippi civil rights attorney Robert McDuff and the Mississippi Center for Justice. The case is consolidated with a similar case, Campaign for Southern Equality (CSE) v. Bryant, brought by attorney Roberta Kaplan on behalf of CSE and one individual plaintiff.

HB 1523 invites government officials and private businesses, individuals and some medical and social service agencies to discriminate against Mississippians based on religious and so-called “moral” objections to the existence of transgender people, marriages of same-sex couples and non-marital sexual relationships.

The 12 individuals and church that are plaintiffs in Barber v. Bryant comprise a broad cross-section of Mississippians harmed by HB 1523 – leaders of faith congregations in the state, LGBT residents and others impacted by the discriminatory law in their professional and personal lives. The lawsuit claims HB 1523 violates the Establishment and Equal Protection Clauses of the U.S. Constitution.

Read our FAQ on Mississippi's HB 1523.


  • April 2016 HB 1523 is enacted.
  • June 2016 Advocates file two lawsuits arguing HB 1523 violates the U.S. Constitution. The two cases are consolidated for the preliminary injunction proceedings before U.S. District Court Judge Carlton W. Reeves, who issues a preliminary injunction preventing HB 1523 from taking effect.
  • December 2016 Lambda Legal joins the federal challenge to HB 1523.
  • April 2017 Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals hears arguments on HB 1523. Mississippi civil rights attorney Rob McDuff, along with Mississippi Center for Justice and Lambda Legal, argue that the Court should leave in place the district court injunction against HB 1523.
  • June 2017 Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reverses injunction against Mississippi House Bill 1523. Lambda Legal and other advocates pledge to continue fighting this discriminatory law.
  • July 2017 Mississippi civil rights attorney Rob McDuff, along with the Mississippi Center for Justice and Lambda Legal, file petition seeking rehearing en banc by the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Case Information

Status: Open


Lambda Legal: Susan Sommer, Director of Constitutional Litigation, and Beth Littrell, Counsel

McDuff & Byrd: Robert McDuff, Jacob Howard and Sibyl Byrd

Mississippi Center for Justice: Beth L. Orlansky

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has assisted Lambda Legal in efforts to monitor HB 1523.