SuperTalk Mississippi

Same-Sex Marriage Ban Overturned in Oklahoma, Could it Happen in Mississippi?

JACKSON, Miss. — Same-sex marriage advocates received another win on Tuesday after a federal judge ruled the state’s same-sex marriage ban violated the U.S. Constitution.

Same-sex marriage will not be an option right away in the state however because of the appeal process.

“The Court holds that Oklahoma’s constitutional amendment limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” wrote U.S. District Court Judge Terence Kern.

In 2004, Amendment 1 to the Mississippi Constitution, which prohibited same-sex marriage from being performed or recognized in the state, was voted on by the people of Mississippi.  It passed overwhelmingly with 86 percent of the vote to ban the possibility of same-sex marriage.

News Mississippi asked Mississippi College law professor Matt Steffey if the amendment being overturned in Mississippi was a possibility.

“What you see in Oklahoma and elsewhere is some courts declaring even state laws banning same-sex marriage violated the Equal Protection clause,” he said. “As for whether it will happen in Mississippi is anyone’s guess.”

Steffey explained there is no way it would happen in a Mississippi state court and would have to happen on the federal level.  He said the state sits in the fifth circuit, which is often considered the most conservative circuit in the country.

“We will just have to see how far a district judge, and then the fifth circuit would rule,” he said. “My guess is that Mississippi’s ban has a better chance of being upheld than similar bans in other states.”

That could be a moot point though because ultimately will have to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, which last term it wasn’t eager to do.

Steffey said it will eventually come down to, in whichever court, whether they give more weight to equality or state sovereignty.


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