Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has vowed
to appeal if a federal judge strikes down the state's ban on gay
marriage as unconstitutional.
Last week, U.S. District Judge Carlton
W. Reeves heard oral arguments in a case challenging Mississippi's
The lawsuit was filed by the Campaign
for Southern Equality (CSE) 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.
Arguing for the plaintiffs was Roberta
Kaplan, who also led the legal team 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.
Kaplan sounded upbeat speaking to
reporters at the conclusion of the 5-hour hearing.
“Judge Reeves clearly was incredibly
well prepared,” Kaplan said. “His questions were all incredibly
smart and relevant. He was engaged and motivated.”
Reeves questioned many of the state's
arguments, leading The Clarion-Ledger to conclude that he was
likely to overturn the ban.
“This is something that the state of
Mississippi voted overwhelmingly to support,” Bryant, a Republican,
News. “And now a federal judge is saying he believes it's
unconstitutional. It's in the courts. We'll certainly turn to the
attorney general to put up a vigorous defense and appeal.”