Five couples in the southern U.S. state of Mississippi applied for marriage licenses today at the Hinds County Courthouse in Jackson, in spite of the fact that their unions are considered illegitimate by the state.
According to the Jackson Free Press, the couples staged a friendly, low-key protest, arriving with a crowd of about 100 well-wishers and supporters.
In 2004, voters in the state of Mississippi voted by a margin of 80 percent to deny marriage rights to same-sex couples. The state’s Republican Gov. Tate Reeves said earlier this year, “It’s clear Mississippians believe marriage is between one man and one woman.”
However, waving signs saying “We do,” the crowd on Tuesday joined hands for a prayer led by Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, executive director of LGBT rights group Southern Equality. Then, the couples filed through metal detectors and into the courthouse.
Once inside, the five couples lined up to apply for their licenses two-by-two at the office of the county clerk. The clerk noted that the forms did not have blanks for two males and females, and asked instead which person would like to appear first on the marriage license.
The couples paid their fees and signed their receipts, then walked back out into the early spring sunshine.
“We hope to return soon,” one person told the Free Press. “Our love is not going to change.”
“We gather together to resist laws that we believe to be immoral and also unconstitutional,” said Beach-Ferrara.
Last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court voted not to overturn a ruling against California’s anti-same-sex marriage referendum Proposition 8. The court also overturned the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the federal law that defined heterosexual marriages as the only legitimate partnerships in the U.S., keeping countless LGBT federal employees from being able to claim federal employment and retirement benefits for their partners.
[image of lesbian couple via Shutterstock.com]