JACKSON, Miss. – The legal fight to block Mississippi’s same-sex marriage ban will be heard at the US District Court in Jackson within the next two weeks. The lawsuit was filed October 20 by the Campaign for Southern Equality on behalf of Rebecca Bickett and her partner, Andrea Sanders, who were denied a state marriage license earlier this year and Jocelyn Pritchett and Carla Webb, who live in Mississippi but were married in Maine in 2013.
The lawsuit argues that Mississippi law violates the constitutional rights of same sex couples, denying them rights and benefits that automatically come with marriage.
If the judge rules in favor of the plaintiffs, Mississippi’s constitutional amendment will be blocked while a decision is pending.
Monday, Mississippi’s Republican Governor Phil Bryant and Democrat Attorney General Jim Hood asked a federal judge to uphold the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, saying 5th US Circuit Court, who presides over the district, has not recognized gays and lesbians as a group with specific civil rights protections. Because of that, they claim that “Mississippi’s traditional marriage laws do not discriminate.”
Mississippi voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2004 defining marriage as being only between one man and one woman.