Gay and lesbian couples began marrying
Wednesday in St. Louis after a state judge ruled the state's gay
marriage ban unconstitutional.
“The Court finds and declares that
any same sex couple that satisfies all the requirements for marriage
under Missouri law, other than being of different sexes, is legally
entitled to a marriage license,” St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex
Burlison wrote in his 15-page
Burlison did not stay his ruling and
St. Louis Recorder of Deeds Jennifer Florida began issuing marriage
licenses to gay couples.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster
immediately appealed the ruling to the Missouri Supreme Court but did
not ask for a stay.
The city choreographed the challenge by
marrying four gay couples in June, forcing Koster to sue the city for
violating Missouri's 2004 voter-approved constitutional amendment
limiting marriage to heterosexual couples. The ruling is limited to
Slay told the St.
Louis Post-Dispatch that city officials acted “because it
was the right thing to do.”
“I want St. Louis to be the sort of
diverse and open place in which all families – gay and straight –
choose to live, be creative, and build businesses,” Slay said.
Lilly Leyh, 25, and Sadie Pierce, 27,
were the first same-sex couple to receive a marriage license.
April Breeden and Crystal Peairs, both
38, exchanged vows on the marble steps of the City Hall rotunda.
last month forcing Missouri to recognize the out-of-state
marriages of gay couples is not being appealed by the state.