A state judge has overturned Missouri’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage on Wednesday in a ruling that set off a rush for marriage licenses.
St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison said in his written ruling that the state measure recognizing marriage as only between a man and a woman is a violation of due process and equal protection rights of the United States Constitution, ABC News reported.
In his ruling, Burlison said “the freedom to marry is a fundamental right and liberty deeply rooted in the history of the United States,” and that the ban on gay marriage was not tied to a “legitimate” interest of the government.
Missouri officials tried to uphold the ban after St. Louis issued marriage licenses to four gay couples on June 26.
The ruling was immediately appealed to the state Supreme Court by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, who said the challenge must be resolved at that level. He said his office would not seek a stay of the order, however, noting that the Supreme Court refused to grant stays after similar decisions in Alaska and Idaho.
This decision comes just one day after a federal judge ruled that Kansas was violating the Constitution by refusing to allow gay marriage, Reuters reported.
[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Winston Calvert” author_title=”City attorney for St. Louis who argued against the ban”]
Marriage equality is now the law of the land in the state of Missouri. This decision finally enforces that constitutional guarantee of equality for gay and lesbian couples.
Within minutes of the ban being struck down, at least two marriage licenses were issued to same-sex couples, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Over 30 states and the District of Columbia now allow same-sex marriage. The Supreme Court has refused to hear appealed over several federal rulings overturning gay marriage bans. Last month, same-sex marriage bans were struck down in six states.