Judge Rules Missouri Must Honor Marriages of Same-Sex Couples Wedded Out of State

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The victorious couples on the courthouse steps. - ACLU OF MISSOURI

Ten years after Missouri voters passed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages, a judge in Kansas City today ruled that Missouri must honor the vows of same-sex couples married out of state.

In his order and judgment, Jackson County Judge J. Dale Youngs wrote that the lawsuit the couples filed against the state boiled down to this: "Under the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Missouri, must defendants recognize out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples that were legal in the jurisdictions in which they were contracted -- just as it recognizes all similarly valid out-of-state marriage licenses? The answer is yes."

Following the ruling, social media erupted with PROMO and other gay-rights groups championing the news.

See also: Missouri Same-Sex Marriage Case Starts Today, Challenges Constitutional Ban

The ACLU of Missouri represented the couples in their lawsuit and argued the case before Judge Youngs just eight days ago.

"This is a personal win for our ten courageous couples who stepped up to represent the LGBT community," said Jeffrey A. Mittman, executive director of the ACLU of Missouri, in a statement this afternoon. "Even better? This is a win for the whole state because a discriminatory law has been struck down."

Specifically, Judge Youngs found the section of the Missouri law that prohibits the state from recognizing marriages of same sex couples from out of state to be a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment ensuring equal protection of the laws and thus invalid.

Today's ruling has no impact on another lawsuit involving same-sex couples married within the borders of Missouri. This summer four gay couples married inside St. Louis city hall in an effort to bring a legal challenge to that part of Missouri's same-sex marriage ban.


Email the author at chad.garrison@riverfronttimes.com.

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