Federal judge rules in Missouri, paving way for the freedom to marry in Show Me State

Updated: Attorney General Koster has said he will appeal the ruling to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. However, we encourage him to allow the ruling to stand and not to delay the freedom to marry coming to Missouri. 

Today, November 7, U.S. District Court Judge Ortrie D. Smith ruled in favor of the freedom to marry in a federal case from Missouri, striking down the state's marriage ban. The ruling is stayed until the judgment is final. 

The decision today is in Lawson v. Kelly, a federal marriage case filed in June 2014 by the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri on behalf of same-sex couples seeking the freedom to marry. Congratulations to the ACLU and all of the plaintiffs who have fought so hard for equality in Missouri this year. 

The decision follows an exciting month of momentum for marriage in Missouri. On October 3, a state judge ruled that Missouri must respect the marriages of same-sex couples legally performed in other states. And just this week, a state judge declared in a limited ruling that the city of St. Louis may not deny the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. 

Now, the state of Missouri could appeal the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit - but the Attorney General and Governor, who support the freedom to marry, could also allow the ruling to stand. Just last month, MO Attorney General Koster allowed a more limited pro-marriage ruling to stand, and he should do the same today, refusing to deny the freedom to marry to same-sex couples for even one day longer. 

Freedom to Marry's National Campaign Director Marc Solomon said today:

Today’s victory in Missouri marks the third consecutive win in the ‘Show Me’ state in just over a month, with all three judges affirming that marriage discrimination is unconstitutional. We encourage Attorney General Chris Koster not to appeal the ruling so that Missouri becomes the next state where loving and committed couples can share in the joy and dignity of marriage. 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.

Read the full ruling in Lawson v. Kelly here.

And learn all about the three marriage cases from Missouri this year HERE