Challenge to Miss. ban on same-sex marriage

Caption: Many arguments of those who oppose same sex marriage can be harmful and filled with contradictory logic. Photo Illustration by Michael Kavitz/Printz

Two same-sex couples have filed a federal suit against the Mississippi ban on same-sex marriage.

According to The Times-Picayune, the couples, two women seeking to have the state recognize their marriage license issued in Maine and two others who wish to get married in Mississippi, have as their lead attorney Roberta Kaplan. She represented Edie Windsor in the landmark U.S. v. Windsor case, which successfully challenged provisions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The lawsuit, which represents one side of a legal argument, says Mississippi violates the constitutional rights of gays and lesbians and denies same-sex couples the “rights, benefits and duties that automatically come with marriage.”

“We’re not arguing that any church or any synagogue in Mississippi has to have marriage ceremonies,” Roberta Kaplan, one of the attorneys who filed the suit, told The Associated Press. “We’re arguing that if the government, the state government in Mississippi, is going to offer marriage to straight couples, it is going to have to offer it to gay couples, as well.”

The suit says Mississippi prevents same-sex couples from adopting children together or being listed as parents together on a birth certificate; filing joint tax returns; making health care decisions for each other; receiving health and retirement benefits together if at least one partner is a public employee; and being guaranteed to pass property on to a surviving partner when one person in the couple dies, according to Associated Press.

Defendants in the challenge include Republican Governor Phil Bryant, Democratic state Attorney General Jim Hood, and Hinds County Circuit Clerk Barbara Dunn, who has denied several couples’ requests for marriage licenses, according to The Clarion-Ledger

This latest case comes less than two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear appeals from five states whose federal appeals courts declared same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional. Its refusal effectively made same-sex legal in the 11 states covered by those districts. Same-sex marriage bans have recently been overturned in Alaska, Arizona and Wyoming.