Marriage equality case is in the hands of appeals court - - Jackson, MS

Marriage equality case is in the hands of appeals court

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

Same sex couples are a step closer to being recognized as married in Mississippi. A federal judge struck down the state's constitutional ban on gay marriage Tuesday.

Joce Pritchett and Carla Webb weren't outspoken advocates until this year. Now they're plaintiffs in a historic court case.

"Just this lawsuit alone is helping people wake up and realize that it's okay to be her," said Pritchett. "It's okay to be in Mississippi and be gay."

Judge Carlton Reeves wrote an opinion and order that totaled more than 70 pages. In it, he listed questions that came up in the case. As his answer, he said,"Answering “Yes” to each of these questions leads the court to the inescapable conclusion that same-sex couples should be allowed to share in the benefits, and burdens, for better or for worse, of marriage."

Carla Webb married Joce Pritchett in Maine last year. They have two children but their home state doesn't recognize their union. That could soon change.

"I don't think we ever thought that it would really happen when we started this process," explained Webb. "So it just keeps getting better and better because things keep working out. And it looks like we may actually have change in Mississippi."

But there's a catch. Judge Reeves placed a 14-day stay on the order. That  means same sex couples can't get married yet.

Some members of the LGBT community are cautiously optimistic. Todd Allen is a minister who is also gay.

"We can't celebrate justice rolling down like a river as long as soon as justice starts rolling down, the Governor and other leaders start building a dam to block the justice," described Allen

A spokesman for Governor Phil Bryant said, "He believes the people's vote is primary in our Republic and should be upheld."

He's referring to the 86 percent of Mississippians who voted for the constitutional ban on gay marriage. It's part of the argument for appeal that the state's filed. Attorney General Jim Hood is asking for any changes to be put on hold until the appeals court takes up the case. Still, those fighting for gay marriage are hopeful.

"It feels like a win and it feels like nothing can really stop us now," added Carla Webb.

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