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Roberta Kaplan Takes on Mississippi’s Same-Sex Marriage Ban
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Summary: Two lesbian couples are taking on Mississippi’s same-sex marriage ban.

Mississippi is the latest state to face the burgeoning campaign taking the nation by storm for marriage equality for homosexual couples. We’ve seen such legislation nearly across the board, as the issue’s time has come, but though many majority-voted State bans have been overturned by Federal Courts, and though the Supreme Court refused two weeks ago to hear appeals, thus legalizing same sex marriage in 11 states, Mississippi is made of stronger stuff than that. Its majority ban on gay marriage wasn’t by a small margin, and it is possible the state’s ban will be upheld.


And this despite Roberta Kaplan’s involvement. She is the attorney who challenged DOMA before the Supreme Court and won. She now represents two Mississippian lesbian couples who’ve placed a federal law suit. This Monday Rebecca Bickett and Andrea Sanders of Harrison County, and Jocelyn Pritchett and Carla Webb of Jackson are challenging the constitutionality of the gay marriage ban, in much the same terms and in much the same language as it has been challenged in other places.

“These constitutional provisions and statutes deny gay couples and their families the dignity enjoyed by other Mississippians,” the lawsuit states. “They also deny gay couples a huge number of significant and concrete rights, benefits and duties that automatically come with marriage.”

The couples are going forward with their suit despite family obligations: Bickett and Sanders, who have been together for 10 years, are raising twin boys; Pritchett and Webb, who have been together for 11 years, are raising a 6-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy.

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“My family is no less a family than any other,” stated Bickett, according to the Clarion Ledger.

“It’s time we are able to live with legal protections in our home state,” said Pritchett. “We love Mississippi. It is home for us and we have many beautiful friends and family members here.

They will be taking on defendants Republican Governor Phil Bryant, Democratic state Attorney General Jim Hood, and Hinds County Circuit Clerk Barbara Dunn, the last who has consistently denied homosexuals’ requests for marriage licenses.

As she explained, “I took an oath to uphold the law and the constitution, and that’s what I have to do.”

Roberta Kaplan is joined by The Campaign for Southern Equality, an advocacy group hailing from North Carolina. The American Family Association, meanwhile, continues to offer its aid in opposing such attempts to change LGBT rights.

While the LGBT rights campaign has had enough success to win the majority of states – 32 allow gay marriage, as does D.C. – those states that successfully uphold the ban may remain entrenched, considering the Supreme Court’s refusal to adjudicate on the matter.

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