MISSISSIPPI: Hit & Mrs.

Mississippi's lenient marriage laws (no blood test, no waiting period, no parental consent for youngsters) have long made the state a Dixie Gretna Green. Of the state's 66,000 wedding licenses a year, 65% are drawn by out-of-staters who skip across the border from such states as Arkansas, Tennessee and Alabama to take their vows in neon-lit marriage chapels. But last week, Mississippi's hit-and-Mrs. marriage business reached the beginning of the end. Bowing to increased pressure from physicians, ministers and clubwomen, the state legislature passed and sent on to Governor James Plemon Coleman for signature a more stringent new license...

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