For Gay Couples In Louisiana And Mississippi, Marriage Remains On Hold
ARUN RATH, HOST:
Some opponents of same-sex marriage may be planning for the next battle, but others are refusing to admit defeat in the Supreme Court ruling. As same-sex couples across the country tied the knot on Friday, couples in Louisiana and Mississippi hit a wall. Louisiana officials cited a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Mississippi county clerks gave out just three marriage licenses before they were ordered to stop. The halt came when Attorney General Jim Hood said a state appeals court had to lift a hold on a previous same-sex marriage case before licenses could be issued. To get a sense of what some in Mississippi are going through, we turn to Knol Aust, who's trying to marry his fiance, Duane Smith, and Elizabeth Brewer in the same situation with her fiancee, Brandy. We begin with Elizabeth Brewer.
ELIZABETH BREWER: It's June 26 at 2:37. We've heard from some others that these licenses are considered valid, and so we've been encouraged to come apply again.
KNOL AUST: Hi. My name is Knol Aust. We woke up this morning. It was - we made the decision that if it happened today, we were going in for our license and to make our 17-year relationship legal. And we were really, really excited.
BREWER: We were just denied a marriage license at about 2:40 p.m. They said that they have received word from the attorney general that, as of right now, that we cannot get married.
AUST: We were told by the circuit clerk, Barbara Dunn, that our attorney general had sent an email to all circuit clerks that they could not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, so we had no idea how long that would take. We sat around for another hour or two. We were there for three hours total.
BREWER: The lady working in the circuit clerk's office took our name and number and said she would call us when she gets word that she can start issuing these license. She said that they were not considered valid. And I ask her, since we know that three couples already received these license this morning, if we could go on and get one even if it was invalid. And she said she couldn't do this.
AUST: And eventually, we just decided we needed to go on as organizers of this pride event and, you know, continue with our day.
BREWER: It is 6:43 p.m. We are down here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast tonight. We were feeling pretty disappointed and heartbroken, and so we decide get out of town and come to the place where we told each other that we loved each other for the first time.
AUST: So I'm sitting here at pride right now, and it's crazy. Everybody keeps saying, I've seen you in the newspaper and congratulations. And you know, it's - it hasn't really sunk in yet that all that happened this morning, and now I'm sitting around a few hundred LGBT folks from Mississippi listening to music and celebrating. Everything's great, except we're still not married under the law.
BREWER: We're just hoping and praying that maybe Monday, we will get to finally be legally married in the state we both grew up in.
RATH: That was Elizabeth Brewer and Knol Aust of Mississippi. The attorney general there has not stated how long it will take to lift the hold. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.