Gay-Rights Attorney Says Couples Shouldn’t Be Left “Guessing”

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – A gay-rights attorney says same-sex couples in Mississippi should not be left guessing whether any particular circuit clerk will refuse to issue them marriage licenses.

Roberta Kaplan sued in 2014 to overturn the state’s ban on gay marriage.

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In federal court Monday, she argued against House Bill 1523, which is set to become law July 1.

It would let clerks cite their own religious beliefs to recuse themselves from giving marriage licenses to gay or lesbian couples.

Justin Matheny, an assistant state attorney general, says the bill specifies that clerks who recuse themselves must make sure someone else in the office will issue the license.

Four lawsuits are seeking to block the new law.

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves heard the arguments Monday and will hear more Thursday and Friday.