Missouri loses first round in marriage fight

by Leigh Jones
Posted 11/05/14, 05:45 pm

A Missouri judge has overturned the state’s laws protecting marriage between one man and one woman, paving the way for gay unions to become legal. 

St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison ruled the state’s 2004 constitutional amendment, approved by 71 percent of the state’s voters, violated the U.S. Constitution. In a similar ruling earlier this year, another judge ordered the state to recognize same-sex unions conducted in other states. 

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said he wouldn’t challenge that ruling, leaving the future of today’s decision unclear. “Missouri’s future will be one of inclusion, not exclusion,” Koster said previously. 

Although marriage rulings have gone into effect immediately in other states since the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear appeals from several states with laws that were overturned, the federal appeals court that covers Missouri hasn’t issued a marriage ruling yet. If Burlison’s ruling is appealed, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in St. Louis, might break with other federal courts and uphold the state’s right to define marriage. 

Natural marriage proponents hope a different ruling might induce the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision not to weight in on the issue.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Leigh Jones

Leigh is acting managing editor for WORLD Radio. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate who spent six years as a newspaper reporter in Texas before joining WORLD. Leigh also co-wrote Infinite Monster: Courage, Hope, and Resurrection in the Face of One of America's Largest Hurricanes. She resides with her husband and daughter in Houston, Texas.

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