U.S. District Court Judge Ortrie D. Smith ruled today that same-sex couples can obtain marriage licenses. This judgment strikes down Missouri’s 2004 constitutional amendment that excluded gay men and lesbians from marriage allowing Missouri to join the 32 states and the District of Columbia that issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The ruling came in Lawson v. Jackson County, a lawsuit filed June 24 by the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri (ACLU of Missouri) on behalf of two couples (Angela Curtis & Shannon McGinty and Kyle Lawson & Evan Dahlgren), who were denied marriage licenses earlier this year.
“Sharing this news will be almost as exciting as when we got engaged,” said Angela Curtis, who has been waiting to marry Shannon McGinty until they could do so in Missouri. “It was important to us to wait for full marriage equality where we could celebrate with all of our family and friends in the state where we live,” explains Shannon McGinty.
“This is a historic day for same-sex couples, who have waited far too long to be able to marry in Missouri,” said Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri. “It feels great for Missouri to join the mainstream by allowing loving couples to formalize their commitment with marriage.”
“Today’s ruling affirms what the ACLU has always proclaimed—same-sex couples and their families should be treated just like any other loving family,” said Jeffrey Mittman, executive director of the ACLU of Missouri. “Missouri will no longer categorically exclude gay men and lesbians from the institution of marriage—marriage is marriage, regardless of your sexual orientation.”