A gay couple who wish to marry in Mississippi and one who wants their out-of-state marriage recognized filed on Monday a lawsuit in federal court challenging Mississippi's ban on gay marriage.

The Campaign for Southern Equality (CSE) filed the lawsuit on behalf of Andrea Sanders and Rebecca Bickett, who wish to marry in Mississippi, and Jocelyn Pritchett and Carla Webb, who want their marriage celebrated in Maine to be recognized by Mississippi.

Lead counsel for the plaintiffs is Roberta Kaplan, who was also the lead counsel in the landmark Supreme Court Windsor decision that struck down a critical provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) last year. Windsor has played a significant role in cases challenging state marriage bans.

“The Supreme Court took a gigantic step forward last year in Windsor, and since then, dozens of courts around the country have followed suit so that today, gay people in thirty-two states have the right to marry,” Kaplan said in a statement. “It is now time to take the next big step by making sure that gay families in Mississippi are accorded these same protections. The Supreme Court has made it clear that no matter where a gay person lives – whether it is in Maine, Minnesota, or Mississippi – our Constitution requires that they be treated with the same dignity and respect under the law as everyone else.”

Mississippi has the largest percentage (26%) in the nation of gay couples raising children, according to figures published by the Williams Institute.

“Equality cannot come quickly enough to Mississippi for these families,” Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, executive director of CSE, said in a statement.