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Federal Judge Tosses Missouri's Gay Marriage Ban - KOAM TV 7

Federal Judge Tosses Missouri's Gay Marriage Ban

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A federal judge has declared Missouri's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional but delayed the effect of the ruling pending a possible appeal by the state.

U.S. District Judge Ortrie D. Smith issued the ruling Friday in a lawsuit filed in June by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of two couples who were denied marriage licenses earlier this year in Jackson County, home of Kansas City.

However, the ruling had no immediate impact because of Smith's decision to delay its implementation.

The ruling comes just days after a St. Louis Circuit judge also ruled that Missouri's ban on gay marriage violated the U.S. Constitution. St. Louis city and county have begun issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples as a result of that ruling, but most other counties have not.

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ST. LOUIS (AP) - A judge in St. Louis has ruled that Missouri's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison issued the ruling Wednesday. He heard arguments in the case on Sept. 29.

The city of St. Louis issued marriage licenses in June to four same-sex couples, setting up a court case over the state's 2004 constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Assistant Attorney General Jeremiah Morgan argued that 71 percent of Missourians voted for the referendum defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

St. Louis City Counselor Winston Calvert countered that the existing law treats same-sex couples as "second-class citizens."
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