Current status: On June 26, 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry in all 50 states. Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant is the case that won marriage equality in Mississippi.
Background on legal challenge to Mississippi’s ban on same-sex marriage:
On January 9, 2015 the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant, the federal lawsuit that struck down Mississippi’s ban on same-sex marriage.
Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant was heard by the same Fifth Circuit panel of judges as the De Leon and Robicheaux cases from Texas and Louisiana, respectively.
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. The full order striking down Mississippi’s ban on same-sex marriage from Judge Reeves can be read here: http://bit.ly/1thJuaT
“We are hopeful that the freedom to marry will soon become a reality for LGBT families all across Mississippi and that the harms of discrimination that have been felt by so many will soon cease,” says Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality.
The case 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.
Lead counsel for the plaintiffs is Roberta Kaplan of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. 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.
“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.
“It’s time we are able to live with legal protections in our home state,” said plaintiff Jocelyn Pritchett.
Born and raised in Mississippi, Carla Webb and Jocelyn Pritchett are mothers to a daughter and a son. They were legally wed in Maine in 2013 and their marriage is recognized by the federal government. Mississippi, however, regards them as legal strangers.
Document in Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant are as follows:
January 9, 2015: Audio of hearings before 5th Circuit: http://1.usa.gov/1IEVOcC
January 2, 2015: Defendant’s Reply Brief to 5th Circuit: http://bit.ly/1EWbBHe
December 23, 2014: Plaintiffs’ Brief to 5th Circuit: http://bit.ly/1FtwrhE
December 19, 2014: Defendants’ Brief to the 5th Circuit: http://bit.ly/1GA3JZn
November 28, 2014: Plaintiffs’ opposition to stay: http://bit.ly/1ze20or
November 28, 2014: Plaintiffs’ motion to expedite: http://bit.ly/1AbUTO0
November 25, 2014: Judge Reeves’s ruling: http://bit.ly/1thJuaT
November 10, 2014: Plaintiffs’ Reply Memorandum: http://bit.ly/1wfj0Yb
October 20, 2014: Preliminary Injunction Brief: http://bit.ly/1wgsc16
October 20, 2014: A schedule for briefings as set by the judge: bit.ly/1wtHYXj
October 20, 2014: Motion for Preliminary Injunction: http://bit.ly/1wgrZeh
October 20, 2014: 17-page Complaint: http://bit.ly/1ybt7Ac
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.