A federal appeals court is hearing arguments about Mississippi’s controversial religious accommodations act that would allow merchants to cite religious beliefs to deny services to same sex couples. U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves halted the law before it could take effect last July, ruling it unconstitutionally establishes preferred beliefs and creates unequal treatment for LGBT people. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals will hear arguments today about the Mississippi law in Lubbock, Texas. Governor Phil Bryant and other supporters say the law protects beliefs that marriage can be between only a man and a woman, and that a person’s gender is determined at birth and cannot be changed. Gay and straight plaintiffs who sued the state say the law gives “special protections to one side” in a religious debate.