6/26/15

Marriage Equality Comes to Mississippi

Rainbow flag breeze21
Benson Kua, via Wikimedia Commons
When it comes to civil rights, Southern states do not have the best record. Again and again, we seem to require federal intervention to force us to do the right thing.

I have long wondered whether Mississippi would be the last state in the U.S. to ban same-sex marriage. Given that we are the most religious state in the U.S. and that "most religious" means not only most Christian but most evangelical fundamentalist Christian, I figured this was a good bet. At the same time, I held out hope that Mississippi would not have the opportunity to earn such a distinction.

Maybe marriage equality would be another one of those civil rights issues where the federal courts would finally step in to force backward states like Mississippi to get with the times and catch up with the rest of the country, much like they had to in Brown v. Board of Education, Engel v. Vitale, and countless others. Maybe we would be saved from our own Christian bigotry once again.

This is exactly what happened today in the form of Obergefell v. Hodges. Thanks to the Supreme Court, same-sex marriage is now legal in Mississippi! Congratulations are in order to everyone who has been working to bring marriage equality to states like Mississippi that refused to recognize the equality of same-sex couples under the law.

We still have a long way to go before LGBT persons will achieve full equality in states like Mississippi, but this was an important step in the right direction. And as depressing as it is to see our governor speaking out against equality much like former Alabama Gov. George Wallace once did, today is a day for celebration.

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