US pastor 'marries' horse outside court to protest judge's ruling to overturn gay marriage
Mississippi: A Mississippi pastor brought a horse in a wedding dress to stand with him outside a federal courthouse on Friday in Jackson to protest a federal judge’s ruling to overturn the socially conservative state’s ban on gay marriage.
Pic for representation only
The horse was dressed up with white flowers and had a bouquet at its feet. It munched on grass as the pastor, Edward James of Bertha Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, held up a sign: “Do you take this horse to be your unnatural wedded spouse to have and to hold?” US District Judge Carlton Reeves struck down Mississippi’s same-sex marriage ban in a ruling last month.
Gay couples cannot yet marry in Mississippi pending the outcome of a state appeal to the fifth US Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, which is hearing arguments in the case on January 9. Gay marriage is legal in 35 US states, a trend that has accelerated since the Supreme Court ruled in June 2013 that legally married same-sex couples nationwide are eligible for federal benefits, striking down a key part of the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act.
Mississippi is home to an estimated 3,484 same-sex couples. About one quarter of the couples are raising children. Speaking in a video-taped interview with a newspaper, James acknowledged that his horse bride was absurd, but said the spectacle served a point. “I know it’s ridiculous, so is the same-sex marriage status,” he said.