Mississippi Passes "Gay Marriage Amendment"

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Mississippi voters approved a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, a measure supporters say will protect a state law that already outlaws the unions.

The amendment also prohibits Mississippi from recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states -- where it may be legal. Gay rights advocates expected the amendment's passage and have
vowed to challenge it in court.

Legislators voted earlier this year to put the amendment on the ballot. A simple majority was needed for passage. Some voters who supported the amendment say marriage is sacred between a man and a woman.

Others who opposed it say it is invasive and rejects privacy. The Tupelo-based American Family Association conducted a large-scale campaign to promote the proposal's passage.

Mississippi has had a law banning gay marriages since 1997. The executive director of the gay-rights group Equality Mississippi says that the state law makes gay marriage "a non-issue.''