Marriage Equality Marches Forward; Missouri Next?


Marriage Equality victories in the courts continues its unbroken record in a string of over 20 cases that now includes today’s Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling allowing same-sex couples to marry in Oklahoma. This was the second ruling where the court found that the U.S. Constitution protects same-sex marriage.

The 2-1 ruling followed a June 25 ruling by the same court finding Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Same-sex marriage in the two states will remain on hold.

Yesterday’s Circuit Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in the Florida Keys is also on hold. Still, these victories add increased momentum for the marriage equality cause following the Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling in June 2013.

It remains unclear which of the mounting lower court victories will be the first to reach SCOTUS. The high court could decide to weigh in on a variety of cases as early as next year.

Here in Missouri, confidence is high that one of three court cases could overturn the state’s 2004 ban on same-sex marriage.

“It is entirely possible – indeed it’s quite probable – that within the next year, we could see both nondiscrimination and marriage won on behalf of the LGBT community in Missouri,” said A.J. Bockelman, Executive Director of PROMO, in a weekly update released today. “As incredible as that may seem, and after working in this capacity for over 7 years now, I couldn’t be happier (and even a little bit eager, to be honest) to see that bright light at the end of a very long tunnel.”

A case demanding the recognition of the June marriages of four same-sex couples in St. Louis will likely be heard next year. There are currently two additional challenges to Missouri’s stance on marriage filed by the ACLU in state circuit court – Barrier v. Vasterline, set for summary judgment on September 25, 2014 and Lawson v. Kelly, filed on June 24, 2014.

“Of course, ultimately, this may be decided by the Supreme Court of the United States,” St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay told #Boom on Monday. “So it will be interesting to look at how these cases play out in the courts. Normally these things don't happen overnight. I would expect we may not get a resolution this year - hopefully by early next year. I'm really excited about the opportunity here and the possibilities and I believe the people will prevail and I think that's good for us and what we want to accomplish.”