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couples mark first anniversary of Missouri marriage ban

couples mark first anniversary of Missouri marriage ban

Erick Semenske and Tim Coleman joined hands Wednesday, then walked into a St. Louis City Hall office and asked for a marriage license. A clerk politely directed them to another office where they could register as domestic partners, and Recorder of Deeds Sharon Carpenter then met Semenske, 25, and Coleman, 35, in the hallway and explained why the marriage license couldn't be issued. "It's the law," Carpenter said. "We must follow it."

Their request was intended as a peaceful protest of a Missouri constitutional amendment passed one year ago. The St. Louis couple and several other gay and lesbian couples across the state planned to apply for marriage licenses on the anniversary of the passage of Amendment 2, which defines marriage in Missouri as being the union of a man and a woman. The two said they were simply seeking the same rights as a married heterosexual couple and hope Missouri will one day recognize same-sex marriages and allow them custody, inheritance, medical, and other rights.

At an afternoon rally, only a handful of supporters turned out. Meanwhile, one gay organization opposed the action, feeling it could harm other efforts for gay rights. "In our opinion, it's gong to do nothing but drive resentment and hate toward the gay and lesbian community," said Charles Stadtlander, president of the St. Louis chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans, a national gay political group. (AP)

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