July 24, 2013 | by Michael K. Lavers
Mississippi gay couples seek marriage licenses
Tupelo, Mississippi, Gay News, Washington Blade

Two same-sex couples on July 17 were denied marriage licenses in the Tupelo, Mississippi, in which the anti-gay American Family Association is headquartered. (Photo via Wikimedia by TVA Web Team)

TUPELO, Miss.—Two same-sex couples on July 17 were denied marriage licenses in the northeastern Mississippi city in which the anti-gay American Family Association is headquartered.

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal newspaper reported that Robert Dashti and Michael Smith and Trey Goff and Michael Sheffield applied for marriage licenses in the Lee County Justice Center in Tupelo.

Lee County Circuit Clerk Joyce Loftin denied their request under state law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Dashti and Smith and Goff and Sheffield are among a group of same-sex couples that had applied for marriage licenses in Jackson and several other Mississippi cities as part of the WE DO Campaign, an effort the Campaign for Southern Equality launched to highlight the need for marriage rights for gay couples in the South.

“I’m applying for a marriage license because as an LGBT person from Mississippi I want to stand up and speak out on behalf of other LGBT couples and individuals that can’t,” Sheffield said. “I want the LGBT kids growing up all across Mississippi to know they are not alone.”

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

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