Harrison Co. will issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

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Harrison Co. will issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

Mississippi will begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples Monday, becoming the last state in the nation to do so, following Friday's Supreme Court decision. But legal experts say they can't guarantee the validity of the licenses just yet.

Attorney General Jim Hood sent a letter to circuit clerks Monday morning saying his statement on Friday regarding the decision in Obergefell v. Hodges was misinterpreted.

"Regardless of the status of the case before the Fifth Circuit, Obergefell is the law of the land," Hood wrote. "If a clerk has issued or decides to issue a marriage license to a same sex couple, there will be no adverse action taken by the Attorney General against that circuit clerk on behalf of the State."

The attorney general said his office will request the Fifth Circuit expedite its ruling in spite of the 25 day period for the filing of a motion rehearing before the Supreme Court.

"If the stay is lifted, Circuit Clerks will be required to issue licenses to same sex couples by striking the gender portion of the application and writing in the sex of each applicant," Hood wrote.

The attorney general went on to suggest that clerks consult with their county's board attorney about the issuance of licenses.

Attorney Tim Holleman sent a letter to Harrison County Circuit Clerk Gayle Parker Monday saying he agrees with Hood, and advised that Harrison County begin issuing marriage licenses immediately.

"However, the applicants should be aware that the validity of any marriage licenses issued prior to a complete resolution of the pending litigation, including the Mississippi case in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, could affect the validity of any such licenses in any potential divorce actions or in future estate proceedings," Holleman wrote.

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