It's not that Gov. Phil Bryant has a problem with gay people. In fact, he might tell even tell you that he knows some gay people. He just doesn't want it done on state property.
This week, for the first time same-sex-loving people could apply for federal benefits under a key U.S. Supreme Court decision handed down earlier this summer.
However, Bryant, who is commander-in-chief of the Mississippi Guard when they're not federalized, has said because Mississippi has a state constitutional ban against gays marrying, same-sex couples would not be able to apply for federal benefits on property the state owns, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.
Mississippi and Texas are the only states that have decided to bar gay couples from accessing for their constitutionally protected rights. (It's unclear whether Bryant will also block gay couples from exercising their constitutional right to bear arms by not letting them apply for concealed-carry permits or hunting licenses).
As a result of the Mississippi decision, gay people would have to travel to a federal facility (e.g. Meridian's Naval Air Station or Keesler Air Force Base on the Coast) to apply for their rights.
Today, the Mississippi American Civil Liberties Union took Bryant to task for the decision, calling the move "a slap in the face to legally married lesbian and gay service members."
"They should not have to travel when similarly situated heterosexual couples don't have to travel," Bear Atwood, the ACLU's legal director, told the Jackson Free Press this afternoon.
Government officials in 13 other states where gay marriage is also banned — including Arizona, Oklahoma, Florida, Michigan and Georgia — have decided to honor the sacrifices of its service members and process their benefits applications.