KANSAS CITY, MO – Circuit Judge J. Dale Youngs has ruled today that the marriages of 10 same-sex couples married out-of-state must be recognized by the state of Missouri.

 

The decision came eight days after oral arguments at the Jackson County Courthouse in a historic lawsuit filed by the ACLU in February.

 

"This is a critical piece in the puzzle to establish marriage rights for all Missourians," said A.J. Bockelman, Executive Director of PROMO, Missouri's statewide LGBT advocacy organization. "Today the court ruled that Missouri must recognize the marriage of anyone entering into such a contract in jurisdictions where marriage between same sex couples is valid and legal. We will continue to push in order to realize the day when marriage licenses are issued directly within the state of Missouri."

 

“We are hugging each other as tears of joy flow,” said plaintiffs Jan Barrier and Sherie Schild. “This is one of the most jubilant days in our over 33 years together!

 

When the courtroom went into recess last week, Judge Young, stated, “My job is to get everybody down the road.” He went on to say that he will issue a ruling quickly.
 
Arguments in favor of marriage recognition for same-sex couples in Missouri who are marriage in states with full marriage equality were heard by ACLU of MO attorney Tony Rothert and attorney for the City of Kansas City, Tara Michelle Kelly. Opposing arguments were heard by State Attorney Jeremiah J. Morgan.

 
Morgan pointed to 2004 when Missouri passed the Constitutional Amendment 2 with a public vote of 71% supporting and 29% opposing the ban on same-sex marriages

 
During the arguments, Kelly stated that the City of Kansas City believes the ruling should lift the ban on recognizing same-sex marriages.

 
SCOTUS has yet to accept one of the current marriage cases to add to their agenda next session. If and when they take a case It is expected that this ruling could mean marriage equality across the United States.

 
“Missouri has finally recognized our couples’ marriages as being no different from any other marriage,” Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri, told the Post Dispatch.

 

The decision reads, in part: This case presents an issue of first impression in Missouri: Under the Constitutions of the United States and Missouri, must defendants recognize out-of-state marriages between same-sex couples that are legal in the jurisdiction in which they were contracted.- just as it recognizes all other similarly valid out-of-state marriages? The answer is yes.

 

This is a breaking story, check back for updates. Photo courtesy of John Long, Camp Magazine.

 

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