LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The Lamar County Circuit Clerk race has one less candidate after Republican Jay Jernigan took his name out of the hat.
Jernigan said the Supreme Court's ruling affirming gay marriage was the reason for his withdrawal from the race.
"My decision is based on personal belief," Jernigan said, explaining he would not be comfortable issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, which is part of the circuit clerk's duties.
Jernigan has a law practice in Hattiesburg, and he said his beliefs on gay lifestyles do not interfere with representing clients.
"It's a totally different thing," he said. "I've represented many gay individuals."
Jernigan sent the following letter to the Lamar County Republicans to formally announce his decision to withdraw from the race:
Dear Committee members:
In light of the recent U.S Supreme Court decision regarding same sex marriage, it is with regret that I withdraw my candidacy for Lamar County Circuit Clerk. While it is the duty of the office of the Circuit Clerk to issue all marriage licenses, it is against my personal religious beliefs. However, I greatly appreciate the opportunity the Republican Party has afforded me in my brief run for office, and will look at future races where I may be more effective for the party, my family and this country.