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Marriage Equality

PHOTOS: Marry Me in St. Louis

PHOTOS: Marry Me in St. Louis

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Marriage equality came to the Show-Me State Wednesday by way of a court ruling in St. Louis, the only city where same-sex couples can currently receive marriage licenses in the state.

After a state-level judge in St. Louis found Missouri's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional Wednesday, same-sex couples in the city rushed to City Hall to be married.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison's ruling only applies to St. Louis, as the decision came from a case filed by the state after the St. Louis mayor and a local recorder of deeds began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples this summer in defiance of the state constitution's ban on same-sex marriage, approved by voters in 2005. Burlison ruled in favor of the recorder, determining that Missouri's ban violates the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Denying otherwise qualified couples the right to marry solely because both partners are the same gender is unconstitutional, Burlison declared. Therefore, all legally eligible couples who want to marry in St. Louis are "legally entitled to a marriage license," he wrote.

Burlison's ruling denied the state's request for a stay, meaning the decision took effect immediately. The state's attorney general, a Democrat who has said he personally supports the freedom to marry, appealed Wednesday's decision to the Missouri Supreme Court, but did not ask for a stay on the ruling, reports the Associated Press.

Although St. Louis is currently the only city issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in the state, the statewide LGBT group, PROMO Missouri, reminded LGBT residents that anyone who lives in the state can apply for a marriage license in St. Louis if they travel to the state's second-most populous city.

Below, see the emotional photos from couples who became the some of the first same-sex newlyweds in Missouri Wednesday and Thursday.

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