State Backs Off Ban on Same-Sex Ceremonies

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

Mississippi officials say they have relented on a ban on same-sex commitment ceremonies at a state-owned museum and are processing a permit for two women.

The Southern Poverty Law Center sent a letter to the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum in July, threatening to sue if officials didn't allow Ceara Sturgis, 20, and her partner, Emily Key, 19, to hold a ceremony.

Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith said in a statement Thursday that same-sex ceremonies are against her religion, but nothing in state law prevents them from taking place.

The museum had blocked the ceremonies based on a 2009 opinion by Attorney General Jim Hood that said it could because gay marriage is illegal here. Hyde-Smith says a new letter from Hood says the ceremonies can't be refused.

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