Some Mississippians are incensed at North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue for comparing her state's recent successful ballot initiative defining marriage as between a man and a woman to Mississippi -- whose Constitution also defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
“People around the country are watching us and they’re really confused to have been such a progressive, forward-thinking, economically driven state that invested in education and that stood up for the civil rights of people including the civil rights marches back in the ‘50s and ’60s and ’70s. Folks are saying, what in the world is going in North Carolina? We look like Mississippi," Perdue told a North Carolina TV station.
The implication that Mississippi is hostile to same-sex loving people prompted a firestorm locally. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves issued this statement a few minutes ago (italics added):
“Governor Perdue should know that her administration has a lot of work to do to make her state’s business climate ‘look like Mississippi.’ We are creating an environment which encourages the private sector to invest capital in Mississippi, and I would invite any North Carolina-based company wanting to move to a lower-taxed, less-regulated state to look at our business-friendly opportunities.
“In fact, the Tax Foundation ranks Mississippi as the 17th best in the country in its latest State Business Tax Climate Index, while Governor Perdue’s policies have dropped her state among the six worst in America. The business-friendly policies enacted in Mississippi have reduced our unemployment rate to 9 percent, according to the latest numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meanwhile, Governor Perdue’s home state’s unemployment rate remained significantly higher than Mississippi’s at nearly 10 percent.”
I also just saw a Tweet flash by that Gov. Phil Bryant called Perdue's comments "petty." An Internet search of empirical studies on the correlation between gay marriage bans and the Tax Foundation's State Business Tax Climate Index rankings returned no results. Even still, the indignation is curious given that Mississippi amended its own Constitution to ban gay marriage in 2004. You'd think that anyone who supported that effort in 2004, would be applaud the Tar Heel State for finally practicing Mississippi's brand of hospitality.
Here's the text from the Mississippi Constitution on the subject:
SECTION 263-A. Marriage defined as only between a man and a woman.
Marriage may take place and may be valid under the laws of this State
only between a man and a woman. A marriage in another State or
foreign jurisdiction between persons of the same gender, regardless
of when the marriage took place, may not be recognized in this State
and is void and unenforceable under the laws of this State.
SOURCES: Laws, 2004, ch. 620.
Interestingly, the law pertains only to gender and not sex, which makes me wonder of if same-sexed individuals who identify as different genders could get married in Mississippi or have their marriage from other states recognized here. (Did I just blow your mind or what, Mississippi?)
I'd also be remiss if I didn't point out that the anti-gay marriage amendment in the Constitution follows this gem about another form of marriage that used to get cultural conservatives all hot and bothered.
SECTION 263. Repealed.
Repealed by Laws, 1987, ch. 672, eff December 4, 1987.
NOTE: Former Section 263 declared a marriage void between a white person and negro or mulatto with one-eighth or more of negro blood.
The repeal of Section 263 of Article 14 of the Mississippi Constitution of 1890 was proposed by Laws, 1987, ch. 672 (House Concurrent Resolution No. 13), and upon ratification by the electorate on November 3, 1987, was deleted from the Constitution by proclamation of the Secretary of State on December 4, 1987.