Same-sex marriage still on hold in Louisiana, Mississippi

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Same-sex marriage remained on hold in Louisiana and Mississippi, even as a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Friday legalizing it nationwide led to gay couples joyously tying the knot in other states that banned such weddings before the decision.

In Louisiana, Republican Attorney General Buddy Caldwell's office issued a statement saying that it had "found nothing in today's decision that makes the Court's order effective immediately."

The Louisiana Clerks of Court Association advised clerks not to issue licenses for 25 days, the period in which the Supreme Court could be petitioned for a rehearing, said New Orleans lawyer Brandon Robb, who works with the gay community.

Mississippi was waiting until a lower court lifted a stay to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, said state Attorney General Jim Hood, a Democrat, adding that his office would not stand in the way of the ruling.

Three same-sex couples were wed in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where the clerk's office briefly issued marriage licenses before stopping, according to the Campaign for Southern Equality, a pro-gay marriage group.

Although the decision was blasted by many Republican state leaders, gay couples began to wed or expected to do so soon in many of the 13 states where bans had been in place. The list includes Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.

In Alabama, which had contested a court ruling lifting its ban, leaders criticized the decision but said they would comply.

"We will always obey the law," said Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, a Republican.

In Texas, same-sex couples in major cities lined up to receive marriage licenses in about 10 counties, although more than 200 counties in less populated areas were not yet issuing licenses.

In rural Bowie County, in northeast Texas, a few people asked if marriage licenses were being issued to same-sex couples, and they learned the county was not doing so.

"We did receive one call this morning from a gentleman. I directed him straight to Austin," said Denise Thornburg of the county clerk's office.

Arkansas Republican leaders said they may disagree with the decision, but directed state agencies to follow it.

In Cincinnati, the first two people to get a license in surrounding Hamilton County were Shavaughn Silas and Kyerra Crigler.

"It's everything I ever wanted, this is my soul mate, I couldn't have asked for anything more," Crigler said.

(Reporting by Kathy Finn in New Orleans, Wayne Hester in Birmingham, Ala., Therese Apel in Jackson, Miss., Fiona Ortiz in Chicago and Jon Herskovitz in Austin; Writing by Letitia Stein; Editing by Bill Trott and Eric Beech)

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