- Associated Press - Thursday, June 23, 2016

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The Latest on a federal court hearing about a Mississippi law dealing with religious objections to same-sex marriage (all times local):

5:45 p.m.

An Episcopal vicar says she’s trying to block a new Mississippi law because it runs counter to her religious belief that marriage should be open to any loving, committed couple.

The Rev. Susan Hrostowski (ross-TAW-skee) of Hattiesburg is one of the people suing Gov. Phil Bryant and other state officials over House Bill 1523. Three federal lawsuits seek to block the bill from becoming law July 1.

The bill protects three beliefs: That marriage should only be between a man and a woman, that sex should only take place within such a marriage and that a person’s gender is set at birth.

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves heard several hours of testimony Thursday and will hear more Friday.

He hasn’t said when he will rule on whether to block the law.

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1:55 p.m.

A professor says Mississippi is the only state to enact a law listing specific religious beliefs to be protected in reaction to the legalization of same-sex marriage.

UCLA law professor Douglas NeJaime (KNEE-jame) testified Thursday during a federal court hearing in Mississippi. A judge is considering two lawsuits that seek to block House Bill 1523 from becoming law July 1.

The bill protects three beliefs: That marriage should only be between a man and a woman, that sex should only take place within such a marriage and that a person’s gender is set at birth.

Attorneys trying to block the law argue it violates the Constitution by preferring certain religious beliefs and by creating unequal treatment of gay people.

State attorneys argue it provides reasonable protection for sincere beliefs.

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