Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster
on Monday announced that he would not appeal a ruling forcing the
state to recognize the out-of-state marriages of gay and lesbian
Last week, Circuit Judge J. Dale Youngs
sided with 10 plaintiff couples who said that Missouri's refusal to
recognize their valid marriages was unconstitutional.
“The circuit court's judgment in
Barrier v. Vasterling held that Missouri must recognize
marriages lawfully entered into in other states,” Koster said in a
statement. “We will not appeal that judgment. Our national
government is founded upon principles of federalism – a system that
empowers Missouri to set policy for itself, but also obligates us to
honor contracts entered into in other states.”
Koster, a Democrat who has previously
expressed support for marriage equality, said that not recognizing
the marriages could hurt Missouri's economy.
“A consequence of this morning's
ruling by the United States Supreme Court is that gay marriage will
soon be legal in as many as 30 states. At a time when Missouri is
competing to attract the nation's premier businesses and most
talented employees, we should not demand that certain individuals
surrender their marriage licenses in order to live and work among
us,” Koster said.
“Missouri's future will be one of
inclusion, not exclusion,” he added.
According to the St.
Louis Post-Dispatch, the ruling affects more than 5,400
Missouri couples who married in states with marriage equality,
including neighboring Iowa and Illinois.