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Mississippi wins marriage equality!

U.S. District Court Judge Carlton W. Reeves issued a ruling on November 25 in Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant, striking down Mississippi’s ban on same-sex marriage! Judge Reeves placed a 14-day stay on the order, meaning marriages cannot begin until December 9.

The full order from Judge Reeves can be read here:


“This is a big day since it means that gay Mississippians will have the right to be married in their own home state that they love so much. It is also a big day for our country and for our Constitution, since it means that Americans in yet another state can now appreciate that gay people, who are their neighbors, friends and family members, have the right to equal protection of the laws,” said lead counsel Roberta Kaplan.

Flanked by plaintiff couples, lead attorney Roberta Kaplan speaks at a press conference after the November 12 hearing in the federal lawsuit challenging Mississippi's same-sex marriage ban.

(Lead attorney Roberta Kaplan speaks at a press conference after the November 12 hearing flanked by the plaintiff couples.)

“We are overjoyed that gay and lesbian families in Mississippi are finally equal under the law and that a shameful, discriminatory law has been struck down. As soon as marriages begin, gay Mississippi families will be able to conduct their lives knowing that a safety net of legal protections surrounds them, and knowing that their fundamental dignity has been affirmed by their home state,” said Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality.

Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant was filed on October 20 in the Southern District of Mississippi on behalf of two same-sex couples, – Andrea Sanders and Rebecca Bickett, and Jocelyn Pritchett and Carla Webb – and the Campaign for Southern Equality.

Read more about the case at

Roberta Kaplan is the lead counsel in this case. Kaplan was also lead counsel in United States v. Windsor, the landmark case that struck down sections of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Plaintiffs are also represented by Mississippi attorney Robert McDuff of McDuff & Byrd, based in Jackson, Mississippi.


“My family is no less a family than any other,” said plaintiff Rebecca Bickett, who has been with her partner, Andrea Sanders, for ten years. The women are mothers to young twin sons. Like many other LGBT families in the state, they have not been able to afford the expenses required to travel out of Misissippi to wed.

Read more about Andrea and Becky.

“It’s time we are able to live with legal protections in our home state,” said plaintiff Jocelyn Pritchett. “We love Mississippi – it is home for us and we have many beautiful friends and family members here. We hope to help create a Mississippi that reflects the hospitality of her people – by creating a legally safe environment for all Mississippi families.”

Read more about Carla and Joce.

CSE has been advocating for LGBT equality across Mississippi since 2012 through a series of public actions and is coordinating the public education campaign accompanying the lawsuit.

Amendment One Struck Down in North Carolina

On Friday, October 10 United States District Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr. struck down Amendment One, granting LGBT couples in North Carolina the freedom to marry.

First license

(Amy and Laruen receive the first marriage license granted to an LGBT couple in North Carolina.)

“LGBT families in North Carolina will now be treated as equal under the law in North Carolina –  a day that so many have fought so hard for. For two years too long Amendment One was on the the books, but now we celebrate knowing that this shameful chapter in North Carolina’s history has passed. At the same time we know that you can still be fired simply for being gay in North Carolina. Protection from discrimination in the workplace is the next step in our push for full equality,” says Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality.

General Synod of the UCC v. Reisinger is the case that won marriage equality in North Carolina and CSE is honored to be part of the team behind this case.

The Campaign for Southern Equality mobilizes people all across the South – from the Gulf Coast of Mississippi to the Piedmont of North Carolina – to stand up and tell our country a new story about the urgent need for full LGBT equality in all spheres of life – employment, housing, health care, family rights and marriage.