HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Five lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples have been denied marriage licenses this afternoon at the Forrest County Circuit Clerk’s office.
Those couples are participating in what’s called the We Do Campaign. Organizers say they knew going in those applications would be denied. “Because of current state laws here in Mississippi that state such couples can't legally be married,” said The Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrera.
She explained why they decided to go through the process anyway. “To really make visible what happens when a discriminatory law like this is actually enforced, and hurts real people who would very much like to be able to express their commitment to one another through a legally recognized marriage.”
And she said they what to show a need for full equality under federal law for LGBT couples.
All of the couples applying for marriage licenses today live in the Hattiesburg area, including Sara and Lynn Bell of Petal, Miss., who were legally married in Connecticut during 2011. Although their marriage is legally recognized in a growing number of states, the couple remains legal strangers under current Mississippi laws. The Bells know they will be denied at the marriage license counter, but say they are, “taking a stand in their town of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, not only for themselves but also for the generations of the future.”
LGBT couples in six other southern states plan to apply for marriage licenses between now and January 14.