ST. LOUIS, MO - St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison, today, ruled that Missouri’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional paving the way for marriage equality to go forward in the Gateway City and possibly other areas of the state.


In a written ruling, Burlinson said that the state’s measure recognizing marriage only between a man and woman violates the due process and equal protection rights of the U.S. Constitution.


Four lesbian couples had been issued marriage licenses by 5 p.m. at St. Louis City Hall following the decision. According to A.J. Bockelman, Executive Director of PROMO, marriages will resume tomorrow. St. Louis County will also be issuing marraige licenses to same-sex couples.


Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, who personally supports marriage equality, immediately appealed the ruling to the state Supreme Court, saying the constitutional challenge “must be presented to and resolved” at that level. But he said that his office wouldn’t seek a stay of the order, noting that the U.S. Supreme Court refused to grant stays after similar same-sex marriage decisions.


“Today Missouri adds it's name to the history books by ruling on the side of equality for same-sex couples,” said Bockelman.


The City of St. Louis challenged the ban after issuing marriage licenses to four same-sex couples on June 25 following ceremonies in the office of St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay. Then Recorder of Deeds Sharon Carpenter issued the couples, all St. Louis residents, their marriage licenses.


On Oct. 3, Kansas City Circuit Court Judge Dale Youngs ruled same-sex couples married out-of-state must be recognized by the state of Missouri.


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. 


The couples at the heart of Missouri v. Jennifer Florida are Richard Eaton and John Durnell, (together for 39 years), Tod Martin and David Gray (together 23 years), Miranda Duschack and Karen “Mimo” Davis (together 4 years) and Bruce Yampolsky and Terry Garrett (together 30 years).


Same-sex marriage is currently legal in 32 states and the District of Columbia.


The ruling is here.




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