November 4, 2015 at 9:59 am EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Lesbian loses bid to become next Miss. state auditor

Jocelyn Pritchett, Carla Webb, Mississippi, same-sex marriage, gay marriage, gay news, Washington Blade

From left; Joce Pritchett and her wife, Carla Webb, with their two children. (Photo courtesy of Campaign for Southern Equality)

A lesbian who was a plaintiff in a lawsuit seeking marriage rights in Mississippi on Tuesday lost her bid to become state auditor.

Incumbent Stacey Pickering, a Republican, defeated Joce Pritchett, who ran as a Democrat, by a 63-36 percent margin with 95 percent of precincts reporting.

“Over the past few months, I have enjoyed traveling this state meeting people, listening to their concerns and learning about their lives,” said Pritchett in a statement that her campaign issued on Tuesday. “Unfortunately tonight we have come up short, but I am so grateful for the support I have received for this campaign.”

The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund endorsed Pritchett — who was the first openly gay statewide candidate in Mississippi history. LGBT rights advocates throughout the state also supported her campaign.

Pritchett and her wife, Carla Webb, were one of the plaintiff couples in a federal lawsuit the Campaign for Southern Equality, a North Carolina-based advocacy group, filed against Mississippi’s same-sex marriage ban in Oct. 2014.

Roberta Kaplan — who successfully argued against the Defense of Marriage Act before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 — represented Pritchett and Webb and the other plaintiff couple, Rebecca Bickett and Andrea Sanders of Harrison County on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

U.S. District Judge Carlton W. Reeves last November struck down the Magnolia State’s same-sex marriage ban. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans in July ordered Mississippi to allow same-sex couples to marry in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Obergefell case that extended nuptials to gays and lesbians throughout the country.

Jose Pritchett, New Orleans, Louisiana, same-sex marriage, gay marriage, marriage equality, gay news, Washington Blade

Joce Pritchett speaks at a New Orleans press conference in January before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in same-sex marriage cases from Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. (Washington Blade photo by Chris Johnson)

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

2 Comments
  • As sad as I am that Joce lost this election, it speaks volumes that, even in Mississippi, an openly gay candidate for a statewide office received more than 225,000 votes. I even suspect that if she were the Republican candidate, she would have won. The point being: I truly believe that we, as a nation, have accepted the reality that the LBGT community is a legitimate part of the social and cultural fabric that is America.

    • Really? She still lost by two-thirds. I think it speaks volumes that just because we can marry legally that homophobic attitudes still prevail and this is backlash.

      The LBGT community is a legitimate part of American culture? We lost a rights ordinance in Houston despite having more money than the opposition. The NFL won’t move the Super Bowl over it to show support. We need to stop taking our rights and acceptance for granted. We have many looming religious liberty versus GLBT rights battles ahead of us.

      We can’t get a fair up and down vote on a Congressional Bill protecting us in employment, housing, public accommodations and services. In Virginia, conservatives still retain control of the Senate.

      Even our SCOTUS victory on marriage equality was very narrow with only one swing vote making the difference while all the other conservatives had opinions denying us any right. That balance is in danger of titling further to the right and hinges on the next President.

      My point: Stop being complacent or taking your rights for granted. They are not secure. They are constantly under siege and we have a long way to go. Homophobic attitudes are strong. Most of our battles have been won through the courts not the legislature or by popular vote.

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