Waiting for decision in Mississippi's marriage equality court ca - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Waiting for decision in Mississippi's marriage equality court case

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

Mississippi has a ban on same sex marriages and that's being challenged in federal court. Gay couples in 32 states have the right to marry. U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves did not make a ruling Wednesday but says he plans to do so as quickly as possible.

A 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling has prompted several states to take a closer look at their bans.

"When it comes down to it, I just want to marry the person, the woman I love, shared my life with for the past 10 years and commit myself to her forever through marriage," explained plaintiff Andrea Sanders.

Sanders will have to wait awhile longer to find out if she can legally say "I do" in her home state. She and her partner Rebecca Bickett from Pass Christian are plaintiffs in the federal challenge. So are Jocelyn Pritchett and Carla Webb of Jackson. Pritchett says it was the state's religious freedom act that prompted their involvement in the fight for equality.

 "I don't think we knew six months ago this day would come," described Pritchett.

The couples were joined by a large group of supporters. Leading the charge in the courtroom was attorney Roberta Kaplan. She's best known for representing the clients in the Supreme Court case that struck down sections of the Defense of Marriage Act. She says that case made one thing clear.

"Gay people have dignity and that the United States Constitution mandates that their dignity be respected equally under the law," Kaplan said.

Meanwhile, the state is requesting a stay. Attorneys say there could be a run on circuit clerks offices for marriage licenses if the ban is struck down. A stay would put a hold on that. Ultimately, the state says it would appeal to the fifth circuit if they lose the case. Both sides know that's where it will likely end up.

But gay rights advocates say they hope love will win.

"The state law banning same-sex marriage must be struck down as quickly as possible," described Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality.

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