TUPELO – A same-sex couple from Lee County will apply for a marriage license this morning at the Lee County Courthouse as a part of a call for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered Mississippians.
“We’re not doing a mass rally filled with sign waving and chanting,” said Aaron Sarver, communications director for the Campaign for Southern Equality. “The group will be quiet and respectful. They’ll go in and apply and know they will be denied.”
Mississippi law prohibits marriage between people of the same gender, and the state’s voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment in 2004 defining marriage as between one man and one woman. The state also refuses to recognize a legal same-sex marriage from another state.
Sarver said the couple is applying so that the application will become public record in Lee County. Similar attempts have been made in several other Mississippi counties.
As a part of a call for legal rights in Mississippi, the Campaign for Southern Equality will provide a free legal clinic for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people at the Link Centre Thursday night.
The clinic will give attendees an opportunity to fill out a Mississippi Advanced Health-Care Directive and provide information about how they can protect their rights under current Mississippi law.
Sarver said they will compile a list of attorneys who are LGBT friendly.
The Tupelo-based American Family Association, a staunch opponent of gay marriage, released a statement Wednesday critical of the Campaign for Southern Equality’s plan to push for legal recognition of same-sex marriage in Mississippi and other states.
“We believe there should be respect shown for the democratic process of a constitutional referendum in our country and in every state,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “The fact that these groups think they can simply convince judges to overturn what has already been voted into law clearly demonstrates a flagrant disrespect for the democratic process.”
This demonstration comes less than a month after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down section three of the Defense of Marriage act so that the federal government will now recognize any legal same-sex marriage. The ruling did not require states to legalize or recognize gay marriage.