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Mississippi: Judge Rules County Clerks Must Marry Same-Sex Couples

Veronica Neffinger | iBelieve Contributor | Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Mississippi: Judge Rules County Clerks Must Marry Same-Sex Couples

A federal judge has struck down a Mississippi bill that allowed county clerks to cite their religious convictions to avoid issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

CBN News reports that House Bill 1523, which provided religious freedom for county clerks, was set to become law this week, but U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves ruled against it.

"Mississippi's elected officials may disagree with Obergefell, of course, and may express that disagreement as they see fit — by advocating for a constitutional amendment to overturn the decision, for example," Reeves wrote in his opinion Monday. "But the marriage license issue will not be adjudicated anew after every legislative session."

Judge Reeves’ decision makes it impossible for House Bill 1523 to be enforced.

Many have praised Reeves’ ruling as providing equality to same-sex couples. Some, however, see the ruling as a barrier to religious freedom.

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves stated:

"If this opinion by the federal court denies even one Mississippian of their fundamental right to practice their religion, then all Mississippians are denied their First Amendment rights. I hope the state's attorneys will quickly appeal this decision to the 5th Circuit to protect the deeply held religious beliefs of all Mississippians." 

Publication date: June 28, 2016