Mississippi Marriage Definition, Amendment 1 (2004)

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The Mississippi Marriage Definition Amendment was a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment on the November 2, 2004 ballot in Mississippi, where it was approved.

The Mississippi Constitution was, in the amendments successful passage, amended to define marriage as only available between one man and one woman.


District court

Judge Carlton Reeves of the US District Court for Southern Mississippi overturned the state's same-sex marriage ban on November 25, 2014.[1] Judge Reeves elaborated on the court's logic, saying:

It has become clear to the court that people marry for a number of reasons: marriage is a profound source of emotional support; marriage is a private and public expression of commitment; some marry in exercise of their religious beliefs; some do so because it opens the door to economic and government benefits; there are those who marry to present a certain status or image; and others do it for the noble purpose of legitimizing their children. In reviewing the arguments of the parties and conducting its own research, the court determined that an objective person must answer affirmatively to the following questions:
Can gay and lesbian citizens love?
Can gay and lesbian citizens have long-lasting and committed relationships?
Can gay and lesbian citizens love and care for children?
Can gay and lesbian citizens provide what is best for their children?
Can gay and lesbian citizens help make their children good and productive citizens?
Without the right to marry, are gay and lesbian citizens subjected to humiliation and indignity?
Without the right to marry, are gay and lesbian citizens subjected to state-sanctioned prejudice?

Answering “Yes” to each of these questions leads the court to the inescapable conclusion that same-sex couples should be allowed to share in the benefits, and burdens, for better or for worse, of marriage.[2]

—Judge Carlton W. Reeves[3]

State officials appealed the ruling to the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Appeals court

On December 4, 2014, the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the lower court's decision and decided to take up the case.[4]

Election results

Mississippi Amendment 1 (2004)
OverturnedotOverturned Case:Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant 
Yes 957,104 86.0%

Official results via: The Mississippi Official & Statistical Register 2004-2008(p.670-671)

Text of measure

The wording on the ballot said:

Amendment No.1 / HCR No.56
A concurrent resolution proposing to amend the Mississippi Constitution of 1890 by creating a new section 263-A to provide that marriage may take place and may be valid under the laws of this state only between a man and a woman; to provide that a marriage in another state or foreign jurisdiction between persons of the same gender, regardless of when the marriage took place, may not be recognized in this state and is void and unenforceable under the laws of this state; and for related purposes.[5]

Financing the campaign

A total of $7,215 was spent on the campaign, all from the "yes" side:

  • Focus on the Family Mississippi Marriage Amendment Committee, $5,266.
  • Traditional Marriage Crusade, $1,949.[6]

Related measures

Voters in 30 states have approved legislatively-referred constitutional amendments or initiated constitutional amendments prohibiting same-sex marriages at the ballot box. The first constitutional prohibition was in 1998, and the latest one occurred in May 2012. Most of these amendments define marriage along the lines of a "union of one male and one female."


The following constitutional bans were approved by voters, but later overturned by courts:


Cases overturning the following bans have been appealed to higher courts and are currently stayed:

Note: Same-sex marriage is legal in St. Louis County and the state recognizes same-sex marriages.


The following constitutional bans were approved by voters and have been upheld or not overturned by courts:


The following constitutional bans were defeated by voters:

Note: Arizonans defeated a measure in 2006, but approved one in 2008, which has been overturned.

See also

Suggest a link

External links