Coast LGBT leader celebrates marriage ban overturn

Coast LGBT leader celebrates marriage ban overturn

One of the leaders in the coast LGBT community is celebrating a decision made by U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves. Tuesday, Judge Reeves overturned Mississippi's ban on same-sex marriage, but the ruling comes with a two week hold.

Jeff White remembers the moments after he heard the news.

"It took me a few hours before I could even process what was going on. It was just sheer joy," said White.

As Executive Director of the MS Gulf Coast Rainbow Center, White sees the decision to overturn a ban on gay marriage as a victory. Since the founding day of his organization in July 2013, he has been hoping to see this day happen. But he never thought it would happen so quickly.

"We knew that this change was possible and that it was coming and it's here," said White.

But, not everything is in the clear for Mississippi's LGBT community. The state has two weeks to appeal, and has already promised to do so.

White said there could be other reasons for the two week stay period.

"I think if anything else that two week stay is going to help alleviate some of that stress on our clerks," said White.

He thinks it will give the courts time to prepare for what he says will be a flood of marriages. Even so, White said waiting another two weeks is frustrating.

"I've waited 32 years, other people have waited twice as long, and I would just like us to get it over with and get it done," said White.

Even if the decision is appealed and the LGBT community still can't marry after the two weeks, White said hope will not be lost. He sees this as a step in the right direction.

"For the first time, we finally have been recognized in some way, and a major part of our fight is over now."

Mississippi has a 1997 law and a 2004 voter-approved constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between a man and woman. Two lesbian couples, including one from Pass Christian, took this to court, and Tuesday's ruling was on that case.

Lt. Governor Tate Reeves had this to say about the ruling: " One federal judge appointed by President Obama should not be allowed to overrule the will of the people of Mississippi."

Reeves went on to say Mississippi's attorney general should appeal the ruling.

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