Oxford clerk says its business as usual after judge’s HB 1523 ruling

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OXFORD, Miss. -- A couple was all smiles outside of the Lafayette County courthouse on Tuesday.

They were ready to live their lives happily ever after.

"It feels fantastic!"

Cheryl Conlee and Michaelene Johnson got their marriage license signed and sealed days before Mississippi House Bill 1523 was set to go into effect.

"Last year, of course, with them passing the landmark ruling. We finally felt like equal citizens," Johnson said.

Part of the bill would have made it OK for courts to deny marriage licenses to same sex couples based on religious beliefs.

"Whether the law was decided this week, next week, or next year, we're going to serve everybody," Baretta Mosley, Lafayette County Circuit Court Clerk, said.

Mosley said her office is putting religion aside, doing it's job, and following the law.

"If we did things according to our religious beliefs, not a whole lot would get done around here," Mosley told WREG.

The bill's supporters, such as Lt. Governor Tate Reeves, said if clerks are denied the right to follow their religious beliefs, it would be a violation of their first amendment rights.

Reeves wants the state's attorney to file an appeal.

"The people that I saw were very passionate about their religious beliefs and they weren't raised that way. They don't believe that. They didn't want that to be accepted in their society," Johnson said.

"If there is a conflict, we have to go with the Feds every time because we were always told that federal laws trump state laws," Mosley said.

The remainder of the law goes into effect July 1.

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