Marriage equality moved into the heart of Dixie late yesterday with a ruling in Mississippi. US District Court Judge Carlton W. Reeves’s ruling struck down Mississippi’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex mariage, saing that the amendment denying the freedom to marry to same-sex couples unconstitutional. In his decision, Judge Reeves put the ruling on hold for 14 days pending an appeal by the state. State attorneys have already said they will ask the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to block Reeves’ order; the 5th Circuit will now have 3 marriage equality cases to hear. An additional case in Mississippi challenging the state marriage ban filed in state court – Czekala-Chatham v. Melancon – is currently on appeal to the Mississippi Supreme Court.
In separate news, a federal judge in Arkansas also ruled in favor of marriage equality yesterday hours before the ruling in Mississippi. I’ve previously mentioned marriage equality in Arkansas, however that was a state circuit court case which is currently under review by the state’s Supreme Court. Yesterday, US District Court Judge Karen Baker ruled in favor of the freedom to marry in Arkansas, declaring the state’s Amendment 83, which limits the freedom to marry to different-sex couples, is unconstitutional.
Judge Baker stayed the ruling, so no marriages will take place while the state decides whether to appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.