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La., Miss. start issuing same-sex marriage licenses

NEW ORLEANS - Louisiana and Mississippi officials have begun issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The attorneys general of the Southern neighbors had been the last two to hold out against an historic U.S. Supreme Court on Friday that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. Clerks around both states had held off on immediately issuing licenses.

Jefferson Parish Clerk of Court Jon Geggenheimer said in a telephone interview that a license was issued there Monday morning.

It was believed to be the first license issued to a same-sex couple in the state. Gay rights advocates said Louisiana was believed to be the last state to not have issued any licenses to same-sex couples following the ruling.

The Louisiana Clerks Association issued a statement Friday saying it was advising clerks of court to wait for the end of a 25-day period for the high court to consider a rehearing. Gov. Bobby Jindal is opposed to gay marriage but has said the state would comply with the ruling.

Geggenheimer said his office issued a license Monday after his office's attorney called to clear it.

In neighboring Mississippi, at least three marriage licenses for same-sex couples had been issued Friday before state officials advised clerks to wait before issuing more.

The opposition in the Magnolia State capital of Jackson is so extreme, that State House Judiciary Chairman Andy Gipson had suggested Mississippi stop issuing marriage licenses altogether.

But on Monday, the state Attorney General sent a letter to county circuit clerks indicating they could go ahead and issue licenses.

At least two same-sex couples were married before noon at the Hinds County Courthouse in Jackson.

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