The Freedom to Marry in Mississippi

Winning Marriage: June 26, 2015

The United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the freedom to marry nationwide on June 26, 2015, allowing all same-sex couples in Mississippi the ability to marry once and for all. The decision followed more than a year of marriage litigation in Mississippi.

History and the Path to Victory:

  • August 24, 1996: Governor Kirk Fordice issues an executive order restricting marriage to different-sex couples in Mississippi.
  • February 5, 1997: The Mississippi Legislature passes a state statute restricting marriage to different-sex couples.  
  • November 4, 2004: Opponents of the freedom to marry in Mississippi push through Amendment 1, a constitutional amendment denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry and any other legal family status. The amendment cements clearly discriminatory language into the Mississippi Constitution.
  • 2005-2014: As Americans nationwide engage in conversations about why marriage matters, national and local advocates in Mississippi take strides toward increasing understanding of same-sex couples and their families.
  • November 20, 2013: Polling in Mississippi tracks marked growth in support for the freedom to marry and other forms of relationship recognition, reflecting the power of the national discussion of why marriage matters.
  • October 20, 2014: Same-sex couples and private counsel file a federal legal case seeking the freedom to marry in Mississippi, Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant. Read the initial complaint here – and learn more from the Campaign for Southern Equality.
  • November 25, 2014: U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves rules that denying the freedom to marry to same-sex couples is unconstitutional in Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant. The State of Mississippi immediately appeals the ruling to the 5th Circuit. Read the ruling.
  • January 9, 2015: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit hears oral argument in the Mississippi marriage case but holds off on ruling until a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • June 26, 2015: The United States Supreme Court rules in favor of the freedom to marry, ending marriage discrimination across the country.

Groups that Actively Worked on Marriage:

  • The Campaign for Southern Equality is a national effort to assert the full humanity and equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in American life and to increase public support for LGBT rights.
  • Equality Mississippi is a statewide organization working toward fairness and equality for LGBTQ Mississippians.
  • Freedom to Marry was the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide.