JACKSON, Miss. — Officials in the state of Mississippi are pondering getting out of the marriage business altogether—among other options—following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Friday declaring that all states must legalize same-sex “marriage.”
“One of the options that other states have looked at is removing the state marriage license requirement,” State House Judiciary Chairman Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, told the Clarion Ledger. “We will be researching what options there are. I personally can see pros and cons to that. I don’t know if it would be better to have no marriage certificate sponsored by the state or not. But it’s an option out there to be considered.”
Besides working for the legislature, Gipson is an attorney and a Baptist minister. He said that he saw the Supreme Court ruling as inevitable, but notes that it won’t phase him and other Christians in the state.
“What the Supreme Court’s decision does not and cannot change is the firmly held conviction of faith of myself and most Mississippians,” Gipson said. “We still believe that marriage is defined by God as the union of one man and one woman. As Bible-believing Christians, we will not change or alter our religious convictions to suit the whims of the court or the culture.”
House Speaker Philip Gunn, also a Christian, made similar statements.
“As Christians, we are to speak the truth in love,” he said. “But we are not to shy away from speaking the truth, even though the truth may be unpopular or not embraced by the culture around us. This decision is in direct conflict with God’s design for marriage as set forth in the Bible. The threat of this decision to religious liberty is very clear. I pledge to protect the rights of Christian citizens to teach and operate on the basis of Christian conviction.”
Mississippi is currently not issuing any licenses to homosexuals as the state’s case before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals was placed on hold pending a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court. It is waiting for the Fifth Circuit to issue a directive following the ruling.
Lawmakers and judges in other states, such as Alabama, are likewise considering their options so as not to consent to the ruling.
“My office discontinued issuing marriage licenses in February, and I have no plans to put Pike County back into the marriage business,” Alabama Judge Wes Allen said on Friday.
“Section 30-1-9 of the Alabama Code of 1975 says a probate judge may issue a marriage license. … It doesn’t say a probate judge has to issue a marriage license,” Judge Fred Hamic likewise stated. “I will not be doing any more ceremonies.”
Republican presidential candidate and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul weighed in on the matter on Sunday.
“Since government has been involved in marriage, they have done what they always do—taxed it, regulated it, and now redefined it. It is hard to argue that government’s involvement in marriage has made it better, a fact also not surprising to those who believe government does little right,” he wrote for TIME.
“Perhaps it is time to be more careful what we ask government to do, and where we allow it to become part of our lives,” Paul said. “So now, states such as Alabama are beginning to understand this as they begin to get out of the marriage licensing business altogether. Will others follow?”