Couples in St. Louis began getting married after U.S. District Judge Ortrie D. Smith ruled this morning, Nov. 7, that denying marriage for same-sex couples in Missouri is unconstitutional. County clerks in other counties are refusing to issue marriage licenses claiming the ruling applies only to St. Louis.
The ruling comes just two days after St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison also declared Missouri’s ban unconstitutional, and a month after a state ruling which found that Missouri must respect the legal marriages of same-sex couples performed elsewhere.
Marc Solomon, national campaign director of Freedom to Marry and Kansas City native, released the following statement:
“Today’s victory in Missouri marks the third consecutive win in the ‘Show Me’ state in just over a month, with all three judges affirming that marriage discrimination is unconstitutional. We encourage Attorney General Chris Koster not to appeal the ruling so that Missouri becomes the next state where loving and committed couples can share in the joy and dignity of marriage. Today’s ruling adds to the powerful momentum of victories from a bipartisan array of federal and state judges as we work to secure the freedom to marry nationwide.”
As of last month, a majority of Americans now live in a freedom to marry state. Once the pro-marriage rulings from the 4th, 7th, 9th, and 10th Circuits are fully implemented, same-sex couples will have the freedom to marry in 35 states plus the District of Columbia, representing nearly two-thirds of the American people.
In Kansas, a marriage ruling has been stayed until Monday to allow the state to file its appeal. Montana and South Carolina are the only states in their circuits that have not enacted marriage equality but are expected to comply with court rulings soon.