ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, court rules
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[November 06, 2014]
By Carey Gillam
(Reuters) - Missouri's ban on same-sex
marriage is unconstitutional, a St. Louis circuit judge ruled on
Wednesday, adding momentum to efforts in states across the country to
legalize gay nuptials.
The decision comes a day after a federal judge ruled that
neighboring Kansas also was violating the U.S. Constitution by
refusing to allow same-sex marriages. More than 30 U.S. states
permit same-sex couples to marry.
"Marriage equality is now the law of the land in the state of
Missouri," said Winston Calvert, the city attorney for St. Louis,
who argued against the state's same-sex marriage ban. "This decision
finally enforces that constitutional guarantee of equality for gay
and lesbian couples."
In his ruling, St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison said that "the
freedom to marry is a fundamental right and liberty deeply rooted in
the history of the United States." He found that the state ban on
same-sex marriage was not tied to a "legitimate government
Missouri officials were attempting to uphold the state ban on
same-sex marriages after St. Louis issued marriage licenses in June
to four same-sex couples.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said the state was appealing
the ruling to the Missouri Supreme Court. But, Koster said, he was
not seeking a stay of Burlison's ruling.
Marc Solomon, national campaign director for the Freedom to Marry
advocacy group, applauded the ruling.
"As Missourians get to know married same-sex couples and their
families, they will see clearly that their marriages are based on
love, commitment and an interest in caring for their families," he
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"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," Solomon said.
In the Kansas case, U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Crabtree
granted a preliminary injunction Tuesday stopping Kansas from
enforcing its ban on gay marriage and put the ruling on hold until
Nov. 11 to give Kansas an opportunity to appeal.
Same-sex marriage has become legal in more than a dozen states since
the U.S. Supreme Court said on Oct. 6 that it would not review
recent U.S. appeals court decisions striking down state bans.
The number of states in which same-sex marriages may be performed
jumped to 32 from 19 after the U.S. Supreme Court's announcement.
(Reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City, Mo.; Editing by Sandra
Maler and Eric Beech)
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