Harrison County

Tig Notaro talks about marriage, LGBT rights in the Deep South and ‘One Mississippi’

Comedian and Pass Christian native Tig Notaro at her downtown loft in 2012.
Comedian and Pass Christian native Tig Notaro at her downtown loft in 2012. Los Angeles Times File

When Tig Notaro began planning her wedding to Stephanie Allynne, gay marriage was still illegal in the state of Mississippi.

But Notaro did not care. She was hell-bent on getting married in Pass Christian — in the sleepy beach town she’s called home since she was a child — whether it was legal or not. After all, she’d spent every summer there with her family. Her mother is buried there, and most her family still calls the Pass home.

“It’s where I wanted to get married. It made the most sense,” Notaro said during an interview for Out Here in America, a podcast produced by Sun Herald and McClatchy that explores the lives of LGBTQ people in the Deep South and America’s heartland. You can subscribe now on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

Notaro and Allynne mailed out their wedding invitations in June 2015. The next morning, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality in every state in the U.S.

“So here we were, legally getting married in Mississippi,” Notaro said in May while on set of filming for the second season of “One Mississippi” in New Orleans. “The joy and pride I felt to have our marriage certificate say the state of Mississippi — it was just like gosh, I can’t believe we are saying this.”

Notaro may live in Los Angeles today with Allynne and their twin sons, Max and Finn, but Mississippi is where heart remains. And while she feels the Coast is inclusive, she said Mississippi doesn’t always feel safe.

Shortly after the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling, Mississippi passed controversial House Bill 1523, which gave individuals, businesses and religious organizations the right to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

“We took this trip to Jackson. We both felt scared, because we could be kicked out of a hotel. We could be kicked out of a restaurant. It was the first time I felt scared,” Notaro said.

But that won’t stop Notaro and Allynne from coming home to the Gulf Coast with their boys.

“I have that hometown pride with the state, and I refuse to leave it behind and discard it,” she said.

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • Tig Notaro’s definition of home, and everything that comes with it
  • Why getting in married in Mississippi was important, and how it came with rewards and consequences
  • Why Notaro feels it is vital to educate society about small pockets in the Deep South
  • What’s next for Notaro and her family

In a bonus episode, Notaro tells us what to expect in the second season of “One Mississippi.”

New episodes publish every Monday. Have an idea for OHIA? Send questions and suggestions to jmitchell@sunherald.com.

Justin Mitchell: 228-604-0705, @JustinMitchell_