[JURIST] Two same-sex couples filed [complaint, PDF] a lawsuit against the state of Mississippi on Monday challenging the state’s same-sex marriage ban. The Campaign for Southern Equality [advocacy website], which filed the suit on behalf of the couples in the US District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi [official website], works to promote equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the south. Plaintiffs Rebecca Bickett and Andrea Sanders hope to become legally married in their home state of Mississippi, and plaintiffs Jocelyn Pritchett and Carla Webb are legally married in Maine but wish for their marriage to be lawfully recognized in Mississippi. The plaintiffs allege that, by prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying, Mississippi law discriminates against same-sex couples and denies them their rights to equal protection and due process under the Fourteenth Amendment [text] of the US Constitution. They seek declaratory and injunctive relief for their claims. Roberta Kaplan [professional profile] of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP [firm website], who was lead counsel in the US Supreme Court [official website] case that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) [HR 3396, PDF] in 2013, is representing the plaintiffs in the case.
Same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] continues to be one of the most controversial issues in the US. Last week courts in Arizona, Wyoming and Alaska struck down [JURIST report] bans on same-sex marriage. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] also recently struck down [JURIST report] same-sex marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada. That ruling followed the Supreme Court’s announcement that it had denied seven pending appeals [JURIST report], effectively legalizing same-sex marriage in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Wisconsin and Indiana. Additionally the Kansas Supreme Court [official website] recently temporarily halted [JURIST report] the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses until it hears oral arguments on the issue next month.