Hearing set to challenge Mississippi's ban on same-sex marriage - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Hearing set to challenge Mississippi's ban on same-sex marriage

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A hearing has been set in Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant, a federal challenge to Mississippi's law banning same-sex marriage.

The hearing will begin at 9 a.m. on November 12. Both sides in the case will gather in federal court in Jackson before U.S. District Court Judge Carlton W. Reeves.

Lead counsel for the plaintiffs is Roberta Kaplan of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. Plaintiffs are also represented by Mississippi attorney Robert McDuff of McDuff & Byrd, based in Jackson. 

A federal court ruling is believed to be the swiftest path to equality for families in Mississippi.

“My family is no less a family than any other,” said plaintiff Rebecca Bickett, who has been with her partner, Andrea Sanders, for ten years. The women are mothers to young twin sons. 

Like many other LGBT families in the state, they have not been able to afford the expenses required to travel out of Mississippi to wed.

“It's time we are able to live with legal protections in our home state,” said plaintiff Jocelyn Pritchett. “We love Mississippi - it is home for us and we have many beautiful friends and family members here. We hope to help create a Mississippi that reflects the hospitality of her people - by creating a legally safe environment for all Mississippi families.”

Born and raised in Mississippi, Carla Webb and Jocelyn Pritchett are mothers to a daughter and a son. 

They were legally wed in Maine in 2013 and their marriage is recognized by the federal government. 

Mississippi, however, regards them as legal strangers.

According to the Williams Institute 26 percent of same-sex couples in Mississippi are raising children, the highest percentage of any state in the nation. Without access to marriage, these families face harms and burdens such as a lack of parental rights and difficulty in securing health coverage for the entire family.

“All across Mississippi, we work with loving, committed LGBT families who are proud to call the state home. But they also suffer the harms of discrimination daily. Equality cannot come quickly enough to Mississippi for these families,” says Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality. 

CSE has been advocating for LGBT equality across Mississippi since 2012 through a series of public actions and is coordinating the public education campaign accompanying the lawsuit.

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