HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Same sex couples in nine Mississippi counties attempted to record their out-of-state marriage licenses in chancery court on Wednesday, but one county refused to cooperate.
The effort was organized by the Campaign for Southern Equality. Couples from nine counties, including Harrison, Hancock and Pearl River, attempted to record their out-of-state marriage licenses in chancery court.
Harrison County Chancery Clerk John McAdams would not accept the licenses as a matter of public record, although the process isn't legally binding. He said there is no statutory authority to accept the document for public record and it was not a reflection of his personal beliefs.
The decision came as a surprise to the four couples who gathered at the Harrison County courthouse to register, especially for Jennifer and Jena Pierce.
"It is very disappointing that we're very limited on what we can actually do to make recognition of our marriage," said Jennifer. "This is one of the things we can do, and we're being denied that."
While there was rejection in Harrison County, there was rejoicing in Hancock County. Two couples successfully submitted their out-of-state license into public record in the Hancock County Chancery Clerk's office with no issues.
Campaign Manager for Campaign for Southern Equality Lindsey Simerly said although the process was not legally binding, it was an important symbol.
"While that recording doesn't necessarily do anything in a technical sense, it doesn't grant them a marriage. It doesn't mean Mississippi sees them as equal," Simerly said. "It puts on the public record forever that there are same sex couples everywhere in the State of Mississippi."
Pam Watson and Mary Dirigo were married in California but choose to live in Mississippi. This was an important part of their journey.
"We just feel fantastic having our family and friends with us watching us be able to validate what we've known all along; that our marriage is the same as anybody else's," said Dirigo.