In an open challenge to Missouri's ban
on gay marriage, St. Louis officials on Wednesday issued marriage
licenses to four gay couples.
The couples were married by a municipal
judge in the office of Mayor Francis Slay.
According to the St.
Louis Post-Dispatch, the city has voluntarily agreed not to
issue any more licenses to gay couples.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster
sued the city on Thursday.
“But, make no mistake about it,”
Slay said, “I, and all of us standing here, are doing this to force
the issue and to get the law settled for everyone who wants to get
married in the state of Missouri.”
“If we weren't doing this, no other
city in Missouri would,” he added.
In a tweet, Mayor Slay added: “This
is a human rights issue, a quality of life issue, and an economic
The city said it had considered the
challenge for more than a year and a half.
The first to marry were John Durnell
and Richard Eaton (pictured above with Mayor Slay), who have been
together 39 years. (A video from the ceremony is embedded on this
our video library for more videos.)
In 2004, voters overwhelmingly (71%)
approved Amendment 2, a constitutional amendment which states: “That
to be valid and recognized in this state, a marriage shall exist only
between a man and a woman.” The city of St. Louis, which acts as
an independent municipality, was the only county to reject Amendment