Mississippi Asks Fifth Circuit To Extend Marriage Stay: Don’t Turn Us Into Utah

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and state Attorney General Jim Hood this afternoon filed a motion with the Fifth Circuit Court which demands an indefinite stay extension on yesterday’s ruling by a federal district court. That court’s stay is scheduled to expire in two weeks and according to today’s filing, unless an emergency extension is granted, there will be another “debacle” as was seen in Utah.

Absent the immediate entry of an emergency stay, at the opening of business on Wednesday, December 10, 2014, Mississippi circuit clerks will be forced to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, inderogation of Mississippi’s strong public policy favoring traditional marriages, as reflected in state statutory and constitutional provisions. The State Defendants, Governor Phil Bryant and Attorney General Jim Hood, filed a contingent motion for stay pending appeal in the district court in the event that court entered a preliminary injunction. Last night, the district court granted the Plaintiff-Appellees’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction, but entered only a 14 day temporary stay, necessitating this request for emergency relief.

The preliminary injunction drastically alters the status quo and disrupts the social fabric and traditions of the State. If same-sex marriages are permitted to proceed, even for a very short time, if the validity of Mississippi’s traditional marriage laws is upheld on appeal, the State would be presented with the extremely unfortunate and thorny issue of having to legally unwind any marital or other family relationships which were created or altered pursuant to “in the interim” same-sex marriage licenses. The recent debacle in the State of Utah that resulted from the courts’ “on-again, off-again” treatment of same-sex marriage is illustrative, and this Court should take action to prevent Mississippi from having to endure the same experience.

Read the full filing at Equality Case Files.