TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI)- Marching silently with “We Do” signs and posters, same-sex marriage supporters walked behind two couples as they made their way toward the Lee County Justice Center to apply for a marriage license.
Surrounded by a group of supporters, they opened in prayer and made their way inside. They applied and signed only to hear they were denied. Robert Dashti and Michael Smith were one of the two gay couples who asked for marriage equality.
“We knew the outcome. For me, it really didn’t hit home until she handed me the copy of the marriage license that said denied. I didn’t expect to feel this emotional in the State that we call home. I feel a lot right now, but I feel a lot of love,” said Robert Dashti and Michael Smith.
Supports chanted and applauded as they emerged. Robert and Michael knew they would be denied their license but says they wanted to send a message to the public.
“Someone who doesn’t have the support that I’ve had in my life is going to see this and they’re going to realize I am not alone, I’m just like you,” said Robert.
Vicky Mann grew up in Nettleton and wanted to show her support.
“I can assure you when I was 15 years old I never thought this would happen in Tupelo. This is a hard place to grow up in as a lesbian. It’s what we are and you don’t have to be one of us in order to allow us to have our rights,” said Mann.
But not everyone supports their cause.
Tim Wildmon, President of the American Family Association, strongly opposes same-sex marriage. He feels marriage is solely between a man and a woman and should be kept that way.
“The supreme court did not strike down the right of states to determine their definition of marriage so I think these folks are misguided and trying to stir up trouble. The purpose of marriage goes back to the beginning of time. It’s for families, it’s to procreate, it’s to continue the furtherance of the human race. There’s a reason a woman and a woman together cannot have children because it’s unnatural behavior,” said Wildmon.
For Robert, Michael and members of the “We Do” campaign, the road to marriage equality may be rough, but this is one day they’ll never forget.
“Anybody can go in there now and say, yes, Michael and Robert came in on July 18th and applied for a marriage license and were denied. We definitely don’t need to wait for Mississippi. We need to get this done. If you love someone, marry them, spend the rest of your life with them,” said Michael Smith.
Same-sex couples participating in the “We Do” campaign have also applied for licenses in other parts of the state.