A judge in St. Louis has ruled Wednesday that Missouri's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Almost immediately, several same-sex couples made their way to City Hall to get their marriage licenses.
"The court recognizes that the freedom to marry is a fundamental right and liberty deeply rooted in the history of the United States," St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison said in his ruling Wednesday. He heard arguments in the case on Sept. 29.
(Updated at 5:45 p.m. with quotes from the ACLU and additional information.)
Attorney General Chris Koster will not appeal a Kansas City judge's ruling that ordered the state of Missouri to recognize the marriage of same-sex couples who wed outside of the state.
"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 said in a statement. Missouri's future will be one of inclusion, not exclusion."
In 1978, the closet was the only safe place for most gay people in St. Louis. But after Clementines bar opened at 2001 Menard St., local gays found another, less lonely haven.
This week, Clementines announced that it’s closing.
When it opened, there was no such acronym as LGBT. In polite company, gays were referred to as homosexuals, and called much worse in private conversations and during all-too-common street harassment and violence. Sex between two men or two women was illegal in Missouri and many other states.
Some Illinois counties are letting same-sex couples marry this weekend, ahead of the official June 1 date for legalizing such unions.
Jersey and Sangamon counties are among those who began taking applications for marriages licenses on Friday. Because June 1 is a Sunday, counties aren’t required to begin accepting applications until Monday, June 2.