St. Louis, Missouri to begin issuing marriage licenses after victory in state court

Today, November 5, St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison ruled that denying the freedom to marry to same-sex couples in Missouri is unconstitutional. The big victory, for now, applies only to St. Louis, but it paves the way for the a statewide decision and marks a historic and joyous day in the Show Me State. 

On-the-ground advocates confirmed that the judge did not place a hold on the decision, meaning that as soon as today, same-sex couples in St. Louis should be free to marry right in theri home city. Freedom to Marry will be posting photos and celebrating the big victory in this post throughout the day, and on our Twitter feed

The decision is in St. of Missouri v. Jennifer Florida, a state legal case filed by the state of Missouri in the summer of 2014 after then-Recorder of Deeds Sharon Carpenter issued marriage licenses to four same-sex couples in Missouri. It comes just over a month after a related ruling in state court in Barrier v. Vasterling, which declared that Missouri must respect the marriages of same-sex couples performed in other states. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster did not appeal the Barrier ruling. 

Read the ruling here. 

Freedom to Marry's National Campaign Director Marc Solomon, a Kansas City native, said today:

We can be sure that in the ‘Show Me’ state, as Missourians get to know married same-sex couples and their families, they will see clearly that their marriages are based on love, commitment and an interest in caring for their families. 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.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said in a statement that he would appeal the ruling, but would not ask for a stay in the ruling:

We have appealed the ruling to the Missouri Supreme Court. The constitutional challenge to Missouri's historically recognized right to define marriage must be presented to and resolved by the state's highest court. Following decisions in Idaho and Alaska, the United States Supreme Court has refused to grant stays on identical facts. We will not seek a stay of this court’s order when the United States Supreme Court has ruled none should be granted.

Today's decision brings the total number of pro-marriage rulings in state and federal court since June 2013 to 49. In only three decisions, judges have ruled to uphold marriage discrimination. See all of the marriage rulings here.

And learn more about marriage litigation HERE.