The Campaign for Southern Equality's "We Do" Campaign turned its sights on Mississippi this month, bringing LGBT couples to their local county clerk's office to apply for — and be denied — a marriage license.
On July 10, two couples applied for marriage licenses in Poplarville and Gulfport, Miss. On July 12, six couples filed for licenses in Hattiesburg, Miss. On Monday, two couples tearfully asked the county clerk in Jackson, Miss., to solemnize their relationship with a marriage license. Today, couples applied for marriage licenses in Tupelo, Miss., just down the road from the headquarters of the antigay American Family Association. In every instance, the couples were denied by officials citing state law that prohibits marriage between two people of the same sex.
The latest actions are part of an ongoing strategy from CSE to bring the issue of LGBT equality into the hearts and minds of Southerners, putting a human face on the damage done by discriminatory laws.
Although each state featured in the campaign — which has now spanned across seven states in the South and included more than 80 LGBT couples — has stark prohibitions against same-sex marriage, CSE's nonviolent protest seeks to create a permanent record of LGBT Southerners' fight for equality.
Because each couple formally files for a marriage license with the county clerk, when every couple is denied, a public record is created noting that the application exists. Denied applications are filed in the county courthouses of each district, creating the first-known public record of LGBT couples attempting to marry in Mississippi, according to CSE.
Meet Chrissy and Anna, a lesbian couple living in Jackson, and Jamie and Kurt, a gay couple from Jackson, in the video below, and find out more about the We Do Campaign here.