JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi officials say they have relented on a ban on same-sex commitment ceremonies at a state-owned museum and are processing a permit for two women.
The Southern Poverty Law Center sent a letter to the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum in Jackson in July, threatening to sue if officials didn’t allow 20-year-old Ceara Sturgis and her partner, 19-year-old Emily Key, to hold a ceremony.
Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith says in a statement Thursday that same-sex ceremonies are against her religion, but nothing in state law prevents them from taking place.
The museum had blocked the ceremonies based on a 2009 opinion by Attorney General Jim Hood that said it could because gay marriage is illegal in the state. Hyde-Smith says a new letter from Hood says the ceremonies can’t be refused.