December 1, 2014 at 11:23 am EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Miss. officials appeal same-sex marriage ruling

Mississippi, gay news, Washington Blade

Mississippi officials have appealed a federal judge’s ruling that struck down their state’s same-sex marriage ban. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Mississippi officials on Nov. 26 appealed a federal judge’s decision that struck down their state’s same-sex marriage ban.

Paul Barnes filed the appeal of U.S. District Judge Carlton W. Reeves’ Nov. 25 ruling to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans on behalf of Gov. Phil Bryant and Attorney General Jim Hood. The officials argued in briefs they filed last month before Reeves heard oral arguments in the case that Mississippi’s constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman and the state’s statutory ban on gay nuptials “speak for themselves.”

The Campaign for Southern Equality in October filed the lawsuit against Mississippi’s gay nuptials ban on behalf of two lesbian couples seeking marriage rights in the state.

Roberta Kaplan, who successfully argued against the Defense of Marriage Act before the U.S. Supreme Court last year, is the lead counsel in the lawsuit.

Gays and lesbians are able to legally marry in 35 states and D.C.

The 5th Circuit on Jan. 9 is scheduled to hear oral arguments in lawsuits challenging same-sex marriage bans in Texas and Louisiana.

Reeves stayed his ruling until Dec. 9.

The Clarion-Ledger late last week reported Hood told the 5th Circuit “at the opening of business on Wednesday, Dec. 10, Mississippi circuit clerks will be forced to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, in derogation of Mississippi’s strong public policy favoring traditional marriages” if the federal appeals court does not act.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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