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In 2015, Mississippi said marriage was not a fundamental right. Now, the state seems to agree that it is.

In a stunning about face, the state of Mississippi is using the landmark 2015 ruling that legalized marriage for gay couples nationwide to argue in defense of its state flag.

Since February 2016, African American attorney Carlos Moore has been asking federal courts to force Mississippi to change its Confederate-emblem bearing state flag, arguing that it “is tantamount to hateful government speech [which has] a discriminatory intent and disparate impact” in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Moore’s case, not on its merits, but on the grounds that Moore did not have standing to appeal because he could not state an “injury in-fact.”

Moore has since appealed the case to the United States Supreme Court. In a brief earlier this month, the State of Mississippi used Obergefell v. Hodges – the ruling on marriage equality – in an effort to shoot Moore’s efforts down.

“Obergefell involved a legal right guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment – specifically the right to marry,” the state of Mississippi wrote in its brief. “Thus, in Obergefell, a litigant’s rights had been infringed upon because they were actually treated differently than others. Petitioner here has alleged no analogous legal right or discriminatory treatment.”

When Mississippi’s ban on marriage for gay couples was challenged in 2015, the state of Mississippi argued the opposite: It argued that marriage is not a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution.

Now, Mississippi is using the logic of the Obergefell ruling to argue in defense of a symbol that African Americans and many other Mississippians view as a symbol of hate and discrimination.

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