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Gay Rights Activists in Miss. See Change in Thought on Same-Sex Marriage

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 15 Jul 2013 06:22am | comments

Gay rights activists in Mississippi are saying a new poll shows the tide for same-sex marriage is turning in their direction.

According to a poll performed by the pro-gay rights organization the Human Rights Campaign, 55% of Mississippians say they oppose same-sex marriage.

But, says Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin, that poll represents progress because 86% of Mississippians voted to ban same sex marriage just 9 years ago.

"A poll is important and it shows what public opinion is in a snap shot in time. What is important is to look at public opinion on that issue over time. A constant movement toward full inclusion and full equality and zero sign of any backwards movement at all," Griffin said.

36 percent of Mississippians say they support same-sex marriage.

The rest are undecided and that is where Griffin and other activists feel like they could make big gains.

"But also as it relates to undecided voters the experience is, including states where we just won marriage in the last election, it shows that if you talk to them they are willing to come your way. And that is what we have to do, we have to talk to them," Griffin said.

Griffin says the poll found that 58% of Mississippians under 30-years old support same sex marriage.

Activists think the recent Supreme Court ruling striking down a law that prevented the federal government from recognizing same-sex unions could give them a boost.

Following that case only one of Mississippi's five member Republican congressional delegation, fourth district congressman Steven Pallazzo, sent out a statement denouncing the decision.

A spokesman for Governor Phil Bryant says Bryant is in favor of keeping marriage between one man and one woman.

Bonnie Allen, a Jackson based lawyer and lesbian, says she hopes some day the state will give her the right to marry.

"I have chosen to live in the south. I have lived in Chicago, D.C. and in Michigan and I decided to come back to the south and make this my home. But it is very difficult to know that we don't have full access living in the south," Allen said.

The poll also found two-thirds of Mississippians support a work place non-discrimination law for homosexuals, a law that currently does not exist in the state.






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