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Mississippi: Five lesbian couples denied marriage licences

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — WDAM News 7 reports that five lesbian couples who walked into a Hattiesburg, Mississippi, circuit clerk’s office to obtain marriage licences had their applications denied.

According to the report, Forrest County Circuit Clerk Lou Ellen Adams told the couples that she rejected their applications because state law says she can’t issue them the licences. “This takes an act of the legislature to change this, and my oath of office, as circuit clerk — I have to take an oath that I would uphold the laws of the state of Mississippi,” Adams told them.

WDAM says the couples knew their request would be denied, but they went ahead with the process anyway as part of a campaign called We Do, which calls for full equality under federal law for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. The campaign, a project of the Campaign for Southern Equality, based in Asheville, North Carolina, aims to bring gay couples to 10 towns in the South to apply for marriage licences, with Hattiesburg being the first stop on the list.

Reverend Jasmine Beach-Ferrara told WDAM that the call for change under federal law is “the most appropriate pathway for LGBT people in the South to become equal citizens under the law and for their fundamental right to marry to be recognized, which it currently is not."

One couple, Rolanda Boyd and Dawn Edwards, have been together for nine years. “We just wanted to make a stand to let everyone know that we are here too. We are Americans just like everybody else,” Boyd says.

Another couple, Sara and Lynn Bell, were married in Connecticut but felt it was important to stand for the right to marry in their home state of Mississippi. 

Landing image: Clarion Ledger (Bryant Hawkins/Hattiesburg American)

View the report at WDAM.

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