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Missouri Counties Holding Off on Gay Marriages Despite Yesterday's Pro-Equality Ruling

Missouri

St. Louis remains the only city in Missouri to have begun issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples following yesterday's ruling overturning the state's ban on gay marriage, the AP reports:

The president of the Recorders' Association of Missouri said the group was advising county officials Wednesday that the ruling by St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison applies only to that city and not the rest of the state.

Association president Jan Jones said she was following that advice in Johnson County and not issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Officials in Boone, Cole, Greene, Miller, Osage and Jasper counties also said they weren't issuing the licenses.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, a marriage equality supporter, appealed the case to the state Supreme Court but did not request a stay on the ruling. 


Gay Couples Begin to Marry In St. Louis, Missouri As AG Appeals Pro-Equality Ruling: PHOTOS

STL

Following St. Louis, Missouri Circuit Judge Rex Burlison's ruling today that officials in that city can issue marriage licenses to gay couples, same-sex couples turned up at city hall to say "I do." 

Meanwhile, BuzzFeed reports that Missouri's Attorney General Chris Koster will appeal Burlison's ruling but will not request a stay:

We have appealed the ruling to the Missouri Supreme Court. The constitutional challenge to Missouri's historically recognized right to define marriage must be presented to and resolved by the state's highest court. Following decisions in Idaho and Alaska, the United States Supreme Court has refused to grant stays on identical facts. We will not seek aa stay of this court's order when the United States Supreme Court has ruled none should be granted."

Check out some incredible images of marriage equality arriving in St. Louis, courtesy of CBS reporter Michael Calhoun's incredible Twitter feed, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay Couples Begin to Marry In St. Louis, Missouri As AG Appeals Pro-Equality Ruling: PHOTOS" »


Gay Couples Free to Marry in St. Louis, Missouri After Judge Rules Ban is Unconstitutional

Marriages

St. Louis, Missouri Circuit Judge Rex Burlison ruled today that officials in that city can issue marriage licenses to gay couples, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports:

Burlison"The Court finds and declares that any same sex couple that satisfies all the requirements for marriage under Missouri law, other than being of different sexes, is legally entitled to a marriage license," Burlison wrote.

He said that the Missouri Constitution violates the Equal Protection Clause and Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Burlison's ruling comes more than four months after four couples were married at St. Louis City Hall, even though there is a 10-year-old constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

The act of defiance, choreographed with the support of Mayor Francis Slay and then-Recorder of Deeds Sharon Carpenter, led Attorney General Chris Koster to file an injunction preventing more marriage licenses from being issued to same-sex couples.

Freedom to Marry adds:

On-the-ground advocates confirmed that the judge did not place a hold on the decision, meaning that as soon as today, same-sex couples in St. Louis should be free to marry right in theri home city.

The decision is in St. of Missouri v. Jennifer Florida, a state legal case filed by the state of Missouri in the summer of 2014 after then-Recorder of Deeds Sharon Carpenter issued marriage licenses to four same-sex couples in Missouri. It comes just over a month after a related ruling in state court in Barrier v. Vasterling, which declared that Missouri must respect the marriages of same-sex couples performed in other states. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster did not appeal the Barrier ruling.

Read the ruling below, via Equality Case Files:

1422-CC09027 Order and Judgment by Equality Case Files


Out Country Singer Chely Wright Scores Kickstarter Fundraiser Record for New Album- VIDEO

Chely WrightOut country singer-songwriter Chely Wright has broken Kickstarter records in funding her new album, reports Rolling Stone.

The 45-day campaign - the sixth most successful Kickstarter music campaign and the number one campaign in country music - raised $250,000, which will allow Wright to record and promote the album and to produce a music video.

Born in Missouri, Wright came out in 2010.  In the same year she published an autobiography and released a critically-acclaimed documentary about her coming-out process. She married Sony Music Entertainment's Director of Marketing, Lauren Blitzer the following year and gave birth to their twin sons in 2013.

Wright knew that after coming out she would lose old fans and gain news, but she says that she was "reduced to tears on a daily basis" by the number of private notes she received thanking her for the support her book and film had offered them in their own coming-out experiences.

With about half of the record already written, Wright looking at mid-2015 as a potential release date for the new project.

Watch the official video for Chely Wright's 1999 country chart number one 'Single White Female,' AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Out Country Singer Chely Wright Scores Kickstarter Fundraiser Record for New Album- VIDEO" »


Springfield, Missouri Approves LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance: VIDEO

Springfield city council

Earlier this week, the Springfield City Council approved a bill expanding the city's non-discrimiantion ordinance to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity, the Springfield News-Leader reports:

Council Bill 2014-189, which goes into effect immediately, adds the protections in the case of housing, employment and public accommodations. Council members Jan Fisk, Cindy Rushefsky, Craig Hosmer, Doug Burlison, Jeff Seifried and Mike Carroll voted to approve the bill. Council members Bob Stephens, Craig Fishel and Jerry Compton voted against it. [...]

"It makes a simple statement of equality that should be a given for anyone who lives in a democracy," Rushefsky [second left] said. "It's a shame that we have had to struggle for so long to really establish that principle in our daily lives."

Compton, Fishel and Stephens all spoke before voting against the stronger bill.

"I believe there's insufficient evidence about a lack of existing remedy for these verifiable cases," Compton [far left] said. "Federal and state laws guard against abuse. I do believe there are inadequate safeguards to protect against wrongful use of the proposed ordinance."

Contrary to Compton's claims, there are no federal safeguards against LGBT discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations. According to the HRC, Missouri only protects executive branch employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation. 

Check out video of the council's vote and reactions to the bill's passage from both sides of the issue, AFTER THE JUMP...(warning: autoplay)

Continue reading "Springfield, Missouri Approves LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance: VIDEO" »


Missouri Attorney General on Gay Marriage Ruling: 'We Will Not Appeal Judgment'

6a00d8341c730253ef01a511d81132970c-800wiMissouri's Attorney General Chris Koster has announced the state will not be fighting the decision in landmark case Barrier v. Vasterling, which ruled that the state will recognize same sex marriages from out of state.

It's not marriage equality in full, but Kansas and South Carolina could certainly learn from AG Koster's example, re: knowing when to give up the ghost.

AG Koster released a statement Monday, and its language seems promising for Missourians supporting marriage equality. The statement reads:

The circuit court's judgment in Barrier v. Vasterling held that Missouri must recognize marriages lawfully entered into in other states. We will not appeal that judgment. Our national government is founded upon principles of federalism – a system that empowers Missouri to set policy for itself, but also obligates us to honor contracts entered into in other states.

A consequence of this morning's ruling by the United States Supreme Court is that gay marriage will soon be legal in as many as 30 states. At a time when Missouri is competing to attract the nation's premier businesses and most talented employees, we should not demand that certain individuals surrender their marriage licenses in order to live and work among us.

Missouri's future will be one of inclusion, not exclusion.

In the past, Koster has expressed personal support for marriage equality, but fought it on behalf of Missouri.


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