No same-sex licenses issued here yet

Published 12:04 am Tuesday, June 30, 2015

NATCHEZ — No one has taken one out yet, but marriage licenses for same-sex couples seeking to get married became available in Concordia Parish Monday.

The licenses will be available in Adams County this morning.

“We had one call about it Monday, but I couldn’t tell if they were someone who was interested or just someone who wanted to see if we were good to go,” Concordia Parish’s Chief Deputy Clerk of Court Becky Zerby said.

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After the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion Friday legalizing same-sex marriages across all state lines Friday, both Louisiana and Mississippi state governments issued statements advising clerks not to issue the licenses immediately.

By Monday, however, Louisiana’s government had indicated it would not delay the implementation and the Mississippi state attorney general’s office issued a statement saying no adverse action would be taken against clerks who issued licenses ahead of the official lifting of a court order temporarily barring them.

Adams County Circuit Clerk Eddie Walker said his office didn’t issue any licenses Monday because the guidance from the attorney general’s office included a caveat that said, “…it might be wise to advise same-sex applicants that the validity of a marriage license issued prior to the stay being lifted might be contested in any future divorce action or in future estate proceedings.”

Walker said he sought clarity from the attorney general’s office, which advised him to consult the county attorney, Scott Slover.

“He advises we should go ahead and issue the licenses to same-sex couples,” Walker said. “We are in the process of having our computers swapped over to reflect there will be nothing on the license or application to reflect male or female, as in ‘bride’ or ‘groom.’”

Walker said his office fielded six or seven calls Monday inquiring about the licenses and couples were told the office was waiting on guidance from the attorney general’s office.

The software upgrade to the county system was completed early evening on Monday and Walker said his office would be ready to issue licenses at 8 a.m. today.

“The licenses will read “applicant 1” and “applicant 2,” Walker said.

Zerby said the Concordia Parish system upgrades had already been completed Monday, and the forms now say “bride/spouse” and “groom/spouse.”

Zerby said the same rules for marriage licenses apply to same-sex couples as to any other couple, including ID requirements and proof of divorce.