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Marriage Equality

Missouri Judge Orders State to Recognize Outside Same-Sex Marriages

Missouri Judge Orders State to Recognize Outside Same-Sex Marriages


A judge's ruling on marriage equality may affect at least 5,400 same-sex couples across the state of Missouri.

A Kansas City judge today ordered the state of Missouri to respect the marriages of same-sex couples who were married in other jurisdictions.

Jackson County Circuit Judge J. Dale Youngs's ruling could affect at least 5,400 same-sex couples in Missouri who entered into legal marriages outside the state, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

"While having a standardized definition of marriage that promotes 'consistency, uniformity, and predictability' may be a legitimate governmental interest," Youngs wrote, " there is no logical relationship between that interest and laws that discriminate against gay men and lesbians who have been married in jurisdictions in which same-sex marriages are legal."

The 10 couples who filed the suit, Barrier v. Vasterling, in February, do not ask for the state to repeal its ban on same-sex marriage, but simply seek recognition of their out-of-state marriages. They were represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri.

"This is a personal win for our 10 courageous couples who stepped up to represent the LGBT community," ACLU of Missouri executive director Jeffrey A. Mittman said in a statement Friday. "Even better -- this is a win for the whole state because a discriminatory law has been struck down."

Missouri's attorney general, Chris Koster, is a supporter of marriage equality, but his office was charged with defending the ban in court. Last week during oral arguments, state attorney Jeremiah Morgan claimed the U.S. Supreme Court's 2013 decision to strike down part of the federal so-called Defense of Marriage Act did not change Missouri's laws. The state is expected to appeal Youngs's ruling to the Missouri Supreme Court, according to the Post-Dispatch.

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