US: Human rights leader pledges equal marriage support in Southern states

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The president of the US Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Chad Griffin, has appeared in Mississippi to pledge to go to the South in his organisation’s campaign for equal marriage.

Speaking at the state Capiton at a news conference on Friday, citing his own Arkansas upbringing, Griffin said the South should not be seen as particularly resistant to equal marriage efforts.

“It’s precisely because of those values that there’s no reason the South shouldn’t be a leader in the struggle for equality and dignity for all people,” Griffin said. “Full equality will very soon reach every single person in every corner of this vast country. Yes, right here in the state of Mississippi, too.”

His stop in Mississippi was the latest in a string of visits, during which he has pleged support for equal marriage in North Carolina and Arkansas, as well as across the US.

Southern states are often seen as more resilliant to equal marriage, and such social changes, compared to others across America.

Mississippi has seen particularly strong opposition to same-sex marriage, and in 2004, 86% of Mississippians approved a constitutional amendment which banned equal marriage.

Last month the US Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which federally defined marrage as between one man and one woman. These cases were seen as key in the campaign for equality in the US.

The first same-sex wedding took place between the plaintiffs who brought the case against California’s Prop 8 at the end of last month, as the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals gave the green light for same-sex weddings to resume.

Back in November, a new report was released which suggested that there had been a new, and rapid shift in support of equal marriage in the US, except in some southern states.

Last month the HRC put up a sign to welcome anti-equality protesters, including the fiercely anti-gay Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, who was scheduled to rally at the HRC’s Washington headquarters.