Horrifying: Domestic Partner of Man Slain in Race-Based Crime Can't Sue Because of Mississippi Law
In Jackson, Mississippi, a carload of white teenagers are alleged to have beaten, robbed and run over an African-American man, killing him, in what appears by all accounts to be a particularly brutal race-based hate crime.
Now, as the truck's driver sits in prison awaiting capital murder charges and his companions may yet face criminal penalties of their own, the family of James C. Anderson is filing suit against the teens for wrongful death.
Another brutal irony in the case is that Anderson was gay and in a long-term relationship, with a daughter. But his partner, who may suffer the most from his loss, cannot join the lawsuit, as the New York Times reports: "James Bradfield, Mr. Anderson’s partner of 17 years, is not a plaintiff. Under Mississippi law, same-sex partners have no claim in civil actions like this, Mr. Dees said."
As blogger Rod 2.0 notes: "the slain man's partner of almost two decades is forced to sit on the sidelines—courtesy of the Defense of Marriage Act and the lack of statewide protections for LGBTs and same-sex couples in Mississippi. Yet another example of Mississippi justice." It's another example of how discriminatory practices on paper can have devastating real-life consequences.