In Mississippi, Don’t Even Try To Have A Gay Commitment Ceremony On State Grounds

Forget about getting gay married in Mississippi—voters in the state passed a constitutional ban by a 6-1 margin in November 2004. But maybe the Hospitality State will at least allow gay commitment ceremonies on state grounds?

Nope! Fiancés Kevin Garrard and Stephen Walters expressed interest last week in using a church at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum in Jackson for a private commitment ceremony. Their request was denied, according to the Clarion-Ledger.

We don’t know which is less surprising: that such a homophobic state turned down their request, or that a public museum in God-fearing Mississippi has a church.

“We were turned away for being homosexual,” Garrard told the Clarion-Ledger. “I understand that it is illegal for gay people to get married, but it shouldn’t be illegal for us to love each other.”

Agriculture and Commerce Department spokesperson Andy Prosser said that even though the ceremony would not create a real marriage, it was close enough.

Said Prosser: “Commitment events, as far as the state goes, are a representation of a union, and state law says that a union can only be between a man and a woman.”

Prosser also referenced a 2009 statement from MS Attorney General Jim Hood, which addressed a similar gay-ceremony-on-state-property request.

“We are of the opinion that the Department (of Agriculture and Commerce) is certainly authorized to restrict the use of museum property for events and functions that are legal under state law,” Hood wrote. “Therefore, (the department) is authorized to prohibit same gender marriages on museum property.”

The gay couple has repeatedly reiterated that they’re not trying to stage a faux marriage.

“We’re not actually getting married; we’re just committing ourselves to one another. There is no paperwork,” Walters said.”I don’t know what the difference is between our scenario and a barbeque.”

The difference is: barbeques are a God-sanctioned tradition of the American people!

Photo via Mediacutts

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #andyprosser #commitmentceremonies #gaymarriage stories and more


  • cletus

    The only thing people can marry in mississippi is their cousins or barn yard pets.


  • Dawson

    When is the gay community going to start a vocal “Do Not Patrionize” campaign against these States or company’s. A list of anti-gay States and company should be posted on ALL gay web sites. It’s all about money and when States and companys start losing money or get negitive press things start to change. How about it Queerty?

  • Macmantoo

    Dawson, I really don’t think a boycott would work. There are too many states it would have to be applied to. However in the case of the Mississippi couple I would go after the state. This couple are more than likely taxpayers in that state. I think it’s would be safe to say that as taxpayers they’re being denied they’re rights to use state property that they helped paid for. I think we need to start sueing the states for our “taxpayers rights”.

  • drdanfee

    Hmm, well … this whole business just seems to confirm what many of us have long suspected. What’s that? (Glad you asked.) The rationale of “protecting one man/one woman marriage” has little or no real life effects on straight citizens. The law – and the public policy or public regulations which result from the law – serves mainly to punish, prohibit, and otherwise demean same sex couples, particularly couples who are serious enough about caring for each other that they wish to make a commitment to do so lifelong, in front of an audience which is typically assembled from family members, friends, coworkers, classmates, and/or other allies who know the couple up close and personal, and thus who are best suited to recognize, celebrate, and support the couple in such a serious commitment. Basically, acknowledging such serious commitment to life together among the prohibited couples is way too close to fair; so bravo for the demeaning of couples who care enough to commit to each other in front of family, friends, and others related to them. Perhaps Mississipi would much prefer to criminalize the couple, but alas, the USA Supreme Court struck down all state ‘laws against gays getting intimate’ as unconstitutional, even going so far as to note that one or another type of bias or bad faith citizenship is likely to help fuel the legal and public policy animosity. Alas. Lord have mercy. Love, like the Holy Spirit, cannot always be quenched. Thank goodness, thank God. drdanfee

  • Jim Hlavac

    Ah, boycotts are not the way to go for gays, ain’t enough of us, and they want us to stay away. No, let’s do BUYcotts — let’s all go down to the most egregious places and have a big ol’ gay time, spread lots of cash with “gay money” stamped on it, lounge around in public holding hands, check into hotels as couples, stroll down the streets as couple. And be darn polite about it. Not even protests. Just run of the mill tourism by gay folks. Show ’em what decency looks like.

    Meanwhile, yes, too, sue on the basis of Denial of Religious Freedom, and as taxpayers denied equal access. Yep, the old “we can’t beat ’em, join ’em” concept would do much better. Hell, what’s to stop this particular gay couple from just going to the park with their friends and family and the person doing the ceremony? What, are we to be denied freedom of assembly too? You know, no more than 1 gay person at a time anywhere. Egads. Enough of this nonsense and merely begging politicians – let’s go on down to the people and say hello!

    Meanwhile, I found that Natchez Mississippi is so gay-friendly it’s ridiculously fun, and so not all Mississippi is the same, as no other state is all the same either.

  • Nikki

    @cletus: @Jim Hlavac: Bwahahaha BUYCOTTS best idea ever! I love the way you think!


    @Jim Hlavac: @cletus: THE 1ST

  • wc1

    Fucking move from Mississippi.

  • beergoggles

    Or whack them with a lawsuit. States need to spend money to defend their bigoted laws in court. Easiest way to pull this off off is claim the ceremony is protest of the state’s law. Request a permit for the protest. Sue the state when the permit is denied for a first amendment violation. Sue these bigoted states till they can’t afford to keep their corrupt republicans in office in the manner in which they have become accustomed.

  • Jean

    This is religious discrimination if the couple wants to have a commitment ceremony sanctioned by their gay-accepting church or synagogue.

  • Beau

    @Jim Hlavac: Love your idea and your positive wording. It’s hard to be gay, and it’s hard to be Southern; let’s show a little love for both while we kill ’em naysayers with kindness. Mighty hard to be too angry with so many pleases and thank yous flying around.

Comments are closed.