JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI – A Mississippi same-sex couple has engaged the assistance of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), after a state facility refused to allow them rental of a space for a gay commitment ceremony.
Ceara Sturgis and Emily Key requested a rental of the Masonic Hall at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum, in Jackson, for the purposes of holding their commitment ceremony. The state-owned museum permits heterosexual couples to rent the space, but officials cited a policy that prohibits same-sex weddings and other ceremonies.
In 2009, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said that the museum can choose to limit access to its facilities for events that are considered “legal” under state law. Sturgis, Key, and the SPLC argue that the policy violates the first and fourteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution.