Meet Kevin Garrard and Stephen Walters, of Madison, Mississippi. Garrad is 24, and Walters 21. The gay couple wanted to rent the church building at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum, located in Jackson, for a commitment ceremony. At the time of their request, they indicated it would be for a marriage. Since Mississippi law bans marriage equality, the Museum had already checked with the state’s Attorney General, Jim Hood, in 2009, for a similar request. In an article in the Clarion Ledger, the newspaper reports the AG told the museum “We are of the opinion that the Department (of Agriculture and Commerce) is certainly authorized to restrict the use of museum property for events and functions that are legal under state law,” Hood wrote. “Therefore, (the department) is authorized to prohibit same gender marriages on museum property.”
The Clairon Ledger also reports Andy Prosser, Agriculture and Commerce Department spokesperson, referred to the opinion when asked about Garrard and Walters’ request.
“Commitment events, as far as the state goes, are a representation of a union, and state law says that a union can only be between a man and a woman,” Prosser said.
Even though the couple’s ceremony wouldn’t produce a legally recognized marriage, Prosser said it is their intention in holding such a ceremony that would violate the law.
So it’s not just the actual legal contract, or a religious ceremony, that’s at issue here, it’s the nerve of those terrible gays wanting to rent public property to have a ‘gay wedding!’ No law would be broken, since no actual marriage under Mississippi statute would occur. The mere “intention” of “marriage” is enough to refuse adult citizens of their state the right to rent a public facility. As Walters said, “I don’t know what the difference is between our scenario and a barbeque”. Well, Stephen, it’s quite clear. Mississippi won’t stand for your gay barbeque. It’s against the law.