BRIAN PERRY/Angst over marriage equality

The United States Supreme Court ruling causing every state to allow two people of the same sex to be married runs contrary to Mississippi’s state Constitution: “Marriage may take place and may be valid under the laws of this State only between a man and a woman. A marriage in another State or foreign jurisdiction between persons of the same gender, regardless of when the marriage took place, may not be recognized in this State and is void and unenforceable under the laws of this State.”

The now void and unenforceable provision was adopted by a statewide vote almost 11 years ago with 86 percent of voters approving it. More than 950,000 Mississippians voted for it while fewer than 160,000 citizens voted against it. To put that in a different perspective, more people voted in favor of the amendment than all people who voted in the 2011 statewide elections: Republicans, Democrats, third-party and independents combined.

The Court’s ruling generated great emotion and passion across the state. For those of the same sex wanting to be married, feelings of equality, legitimacy and freedom were the watchwords of the day. But many Mississippians opposed to recognizing same-sex unions as “marriage” felt this yet another example of a government out of their reach telling them what’s right and wrong.

Perhaps if the 2004 marriage vote were held again but prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling this year, the numbers would be different, just as the 2001 flag vote referendum would likely show a significant difference today. But even a large shift in opinion would not change the final results when one side is starting with an 86 percent majority.

Madison Co. Journal

7/8/15