Federal judge mulls challenge to Mississippi gay marriage ban

Judge Carlton Reeves
Judge Carlton Reeves
Judge Carlton Reeves

JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) — A federal judge in Mississippi is considering whether to overturn the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves heard about five hours of arguments Wednesday — first, from an attorney representing a gay-rights group and two lesbian couples who sued the state, and then from state attorneys who defended the ban.

Mississippi has a 1997 law and a 2004 voter-approved constitutional amendment that define marriage as being between a man and a woman.

Reeves says he will rule “as soon as possible,” but didn’t say when.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Roberta Kaplan argues that gay Mississippians deserve the dignity of equal treatment under the law.

Assistant Attorney General Justin Matheny argues that the state should be able to set its own marriage laws.