Same-Sex Couples Denied Marriage Licenses In Tupelo, MS

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(Tupelo, MS) The issue of granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples is heating up in Mississippi.

In the past week, the We Do campaign has encouraged couples to apply in several Mississippi cities, including Tupelo.

Mississippi does not recognize same-sex marriage, but the couples who applied today are celebrating a small victory,

Hand-in-hand Thursday mornin,g two same-sex couples headed to the Lee County courthouse in Tupelo to apply for a marriage license.

Reverend Jasmine Beach-Ferrara is with the Campaign for Southern Equality,

"Today in Tupelo we take another step in the journey towards equality."

Matthew Sheffield and his partner Trey, along with Tupelo couple Michael Smith and his partner Robert Dashti made their way to the clerk's office,

"Morning! Morning, how are you? We'd like to apply for a marriage license please."

After filling out forms both couples got the response, they already knew was coming from Lee County Circuit Clerk Joyce Loftin,

"And of course we can't go any further because the law doesn't allow me to issue a same-sex marriage. The law states it has to be the same, cannot issue a license for same gender. So...I'm sorry."

Though expected, the denial was hard to take by Robert Dashti,

"In the state that we call home, where we pay taxes and we love our neighbors, to be denied the fundamental rights that everyone else has...

All four are glad their marriage license applications are now on file as public record, because they say this is the time to recognize same-sex marriage.

But Bryan Fischer with the Tupelo-based American Family Association doesn't agree,

"Because the people of Mississippi established in our state constitution, by a overwhelming majority, that marriage in this state will exclusively be the union of one man and one woman."