Washington—Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest civil rights organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT), responded to Mississippi State Representative Andy Gipson’s comments acknowledging the social, institutional and legal change happening across Mississippi. This morning, the Clarion Ledger in Jackson published a report in which Rep. Gipson said marriage equality will soon become legal in the Magnolia state. Mississippi falls under the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and on Tuesday the Court announced plans to expedite hearings challenging Texas’ ban on marriage equality.
“I am opposed to same-sex marriage, but I believe the time has come for people of faith in Mississippi to prepare for the overturning of our constitutional ban on it,” Gipson stated in the article. Gipson’s legislative profile states he is a Christian pastor affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. He also said in reference to marriage equality, “the writing appears to be on the wall for such bans with federal courts.”
“I’ve said that preaching at my church,” Gipson continued. “It’s coming. People of religious conviction need to be processing what this means for the culture, and how we will respond to these issues in coming years – how we will maintain our religious convictions in this environment.”
A September 2014 Williams Institute study on families and relationships found married same-sex couples lived in every region of the country; more than 1 in 10 (12%) lived in the South. Research also proves Mississippi has the highest rate of LGBT couples raising children of any state in the nation. However, couples do so with no legal state recognition for their families.
“Like Rep. Gipson, I am a person of faith, and our faith teaches that we are all God’s children. We also believe in the Golden Rule, to treat others as we would treat ourselves,” said HRC Mississippi state director Rob Hill. “These conversations are not easy and we welcome the opportunity to meet with Rep. Gipson to discuss ways to make our state inclusive for all Mississippians.”
HRC Mississippi is working to advance equality for LGBT Mississippians who have no protections in housing, workplace, or public accommodations; legal state recognition for their relationships and families; state rights to jointly adopt children; and state protections from hate crimes. Through HRC Mississippi, we are working toward a future of fairness every day--changing hearts, minds and laws toward achieving full equality.
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