Groups Oppose Amendment

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The issue of gay marriages has made news most recently in Massachusetts where the legislature debated a proposal to ban civil unions, and in San Francisco, where the city's mayor has authorized marriage licenses for same-sex couples, in violation of California law.

Monday in Mississippi, the gay and lesbian community has expressed concerns about a proposed state Constitutional amendment that targets same-sex marriages.

The groups, Representatives of Equality Mississippi and the Mississippi Gay and Lesbian Alliance, voiced their opinion Monday at a news conference in Jackson.

Equality Mississippi spokesman Jody Renaldo said the amendment would make gays and lesbians second-class citizens in their home state.

Same-sex marriages are already banned by Mississippi law. The legislation proposed by Sen. Alan Nunnelee of Tupelo would protect that law from court challenges by making it a part of Mississippi's Constitution.

The amendment would state that marriage can only involve a man and a woman. It also would prevent same-sex marriages performed in other states from being recognized in Mississippi.