South MS same-sex couples confused, angry after AG puts hold on - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

South MS same-sex couples confused, angry after AG puts hold on marriage license

Despite a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same sex marriage, gay and lesbian couples in Mississippi still can't get married, at least for now. (Photo source: WLOX) Despite a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same sex marriage, gay and lesbian couples in Mississippi still can't get married, at least for now. (Photo source: WLOX)
The Harrison County Circuit Clerk's Office fielded a lot of phone calls from couples Friday, asking if they could come and apply for a marriage license. At least ten couples also showed up, ready to get married.  (Photo source: WLOX) The Harrison County Circuit Clerk's Office fielded a lot of phone calls from couples Friday, asking if they could come and apply for a marriage license. At least ten couples also showed up, ready to get married. (Photo source: WLOX)
Bobbi Gray and Celeste Swaim were the first same-sex couple to show up at the Harrison County Circuit Clerk's Office Friday to apply for a marriage license. (Photo source: WLOX) Bobbi Gray and Celeste Swaim were the first same-sex couple to show up at the Harrison County Circuit Clerk's Office Friday to apply for a marriage license. (Photo source: WLOX)
Other couples, like Jena and Jennifer Pierce, who were married in other states, just wanted to file their marriage paperwork in Mississippi, Friday. "Now this is my wife and anywhere in the entire United States," Jena said. (Photo source: WLOX) Other couples, like Jena and Jennifer Pierce, who were married in other states, just wanted to file their marriage paperwork in Mississippi, Friday. "Now this is my wife and anywhere in the entire United States," Jena said. (Photo source: WLOX)
"I'm also here to lend support for those couples who may be wanting to get married, but also to celebrate," retired Episcopal priest Errol Montgomery Robertson said. "My marriage is now legal in the state as of right now." (Photo source: WLOX) "I'm also here to lend support for those couples who may be wanting to get married, but also to celebrate," retired Episcopal priest Errol Montgomery Robertson said. "My marriage is now legal in the state as of right now." (Photo source: WLOX)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

Despite a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same sex marriage, gay and lesbian couples in Mississippi still can't get married, at least for now.

The Harrison County Circuit Clerk's Office fielded a lot of phone calls from couples Friday, asking if they could come and apply for a marriage license. At least ten couples also showed up, ready to get married. But, a statement by the state attorney general's office has put their wedding plans on hold.

"And now this is my wife and anywhere in the entire United States!" Jena Pierce shouted as she held Jennifer Pierce's hand.

The couples celebrated and shed tears of joy.

"I'm the one that usually cries, but you were crying this morning," said retired Episcopal priest Errol Montgomery Robertson.

"I'm also here to lend support for those couples who may be wanting to get married, but also to celebrate. And my marriage is now legal in the state as of right now, so it's been a long wait for that, to have equal rights and to be considered equal citizens," he said.

With ordained ministers on stand-by, Bobbi Gray and Celeste Swaim were the first same-sex couple to show up at the Harrison County Circuit Clerk's Office Friday to apply for a marriage license.

"We were ecstatic!" said Celeste Swaim of Gulfport.

"I ran in here. I don't remember taking steps," Bobbie Gray of Gulfport.

"Couldn't get up the stairs fast enough," said Celeste.

"Every nerve ending in my body is just going haywire right now," said Pierce as she showed her hands shaking.

She couldn't contain her excitement.

"I'm overwhelmed, overjoyed. I am ecstatic, jubilant," she said.

But those feelings of triumph immediately turned to shock when she read a statement from state Attorney General Jim Hood. The statement basically said the U.S. Supreme Court's decision legalizing same-sex marriage will not become effective until the Fifth Circuit Court in New Orleans lifts its stay on a pending same-sex appeal.

"How does the Fifth Circuit have more power than the Supreme Court?" Jennifer Pierce of Biloxi asked.

"I'm very disappointed. This is my home state. I want to be legally married in my home state," said Jena Pierce.

"We are prepared to issue marriage licenses, more than happy to issue marriage licenses, when we're directed to do so," Harrison County Deputy Circuit Clerk Connie Ladner told the group.

After a four-hour wait, the couples left the courthouse angry and confused. They said they have waited too long and fought too hard for this day.

"I feel rather deflated," said Swaim.

"A little let down, because right now Mississippi is not following the law, especially here. And it's disheartening after you wait for decades for something this big," said Gray.

"We're your neighbors. We're the people who shop at the grocery store with you and all we want to do is get married, just like everybody else," said Swaim as tears filled her eyes.

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said while he expects the issue to be resolved quickly or within a few days, it is possible for the Fifth Circuit to refuse to lift the stay. In that case, the attorney general says it could take significantly longer.

While many couples showed-up at the Harrison County courthouse Friday to get a marriage license, others said they got married in other states and just wanted to file their marriage paperwork in Mississippi.

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