Mississippi files notice of appeal in same-sex marriage case, asks to extend stay

Gov. Phil Bryant (R-Miss.)

Gov. Phil Bryant (R-Miss.)

JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi‘s attorney general has taken first steps to appeal a federal judge’s ruling that overturned the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Gov. Phil Bryant (R-Miss.)

Gov. Phil Bryant (R-Miss.)

A formal notice of appeal was filed late Wednesday in federal court in Jackson and with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans by Attorney General Jim Hood and Gov. Phil Bryant. The state signaled that it was preparing to present detailed arguments later to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves threw out the state’s ban on same-sex marriage but put his order on hold for two weeks so the state could appeal.

Mississippi has a 1997 law that bans same-sex marriage and a 2004 voter-approved constitutional amendment that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. Both were thrown out by Reeves. Two lesbian couples and a gay-rights group, Campaign for Southern Equality, sued on Oct. 20 to overturn the ban.

 Along with the notice of appeal, Hood has told the 5th Circuit that Reeves’ hold on his order will expire Dec. 9. Hood wants the hold extended indefinitely by the 5th Circuit until it rules on Mississippi’s appeal.

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If the 5th Circuit does nothing, Hood said, “at the opening of business on Wednesday, Dec. 10, Mississippi circuit clerks will be forced to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, in derogation of Mississippi’s strong public policy favoring traditional marriages … ” as found on Mississippi books.

The Campaign for Southern Equality has not filed a response to Hood’s motion. Calls to the organization’s Ashville, North Carolina, office were answered by a recording.

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