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