ST. LOUIS – Marriage Equality was again before a Missouri court today as St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison heard arguments on the constitutionality of Missouri’s ban on same-sex marriage.


The City of St. Louis is challenging the ban after issuing marriage licenses to four same-sex couples this summer.


Assistant Attorney General Jeremiah Morgan argued that state law is clear in defining marriage as between a man and a woman.


The City’s case, delivered by St. Louis City Counselor Winston Calvert, maintains the state has no business treating same-sex couples as "second-class citizens."


The four couples were married on June 25 in the office of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay in a ceremony presided over by a municipal judge and affirming clergy. Then Recorder of Deeds Sharon Carpenter issued the couples, all St. Louis residents, their marriage licenses.


“It is our belief that the U.S. Constitution requires the recognition of same-sex marriages,” said Slay at a press conference the following morning. “And Missouri law requires a Recorder of Deeds to issue a marriage license to any couple who is “legally entitled” to such a license. We have created a clear, direct legal challenge to Missouri’s unconstitutional ban on marriage equality. We hope to get this before the courts to settle this issue on behalf of all gay and lesbian couples in our state.”


A ruling from Burlison is forthcoming, but not expected today.. St. Louis officials have stopped issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples until the case is resolved.


In a related case, oral arguments were heard Sept. 25 at the Jackson County Courthouse in a historic lawsuit filed by the ACLU on behalf of 10 Missouri same-sex couples who were legally married elsewhere. Judge J. Dale Youngs ruling is expected today or tomorrow.


Missouri’s Amendment 2, which defines marriage in Missouri as between one man and one woman, was approved by 71 percent of voters in August 2004. 



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