Jocelyn Pritchett and Carla Webb of Jackson are plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit challenging Mississippi's state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
The suit was filed this morning in Jackson by the Campaign for Southern Equality on behalf of Pritchett and Webb, who married in Maine in 2013, as well as Andrea Sanders and Rebecca Bickett.
“It’s time we are able to live with legal protections in our home state,” said plaintiff Jocelyn Pritchett through a press statement. “We love Mississippi—it is home for us and we have many beautiful friends and family members here. We hope to help create a Mississippi that reflects the hospitality of her people—by creating a legally safe environment for all Mississippi families.”
Pritchett and Webb are Mississippi natives and are mothers to a son and a daughter. Attorneys for the plaintiffs include Roberta Kaplan of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP as well as Jackson civil-rights attorney Robert McDuff of McDuff & Byrd.
Kaplan was lead counsel in United States v. Windsor, the landmark case that struck down sections of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) at the U.S. Supreme Court last summer.
Campaign for Southern Equality officials point out that the Windsor ruling "resulted in the federal government recognizing same-sex marriages and paved the way for federal judges and U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals to strike down state laws banning marriage from coast to coast."
“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. 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,” said Kaplan through a press release.
Rebecca Bickett and her partner, Andrea Sanders, have been a couple for ten years and have twin sons. The couple has not yet married because of the high cost of traveling outside of Mississippi to wed.