On Wednesday, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and other officials challenged Missouri's ban on same-sex marriage by issuing four marriage licenses and marrying gay couples in Slay's office.
One of the newly married couples, John Durnell and Richard Eaton, have been in a relationship for 39 years. Durnell said before the ceremony: “We hope in 20 years people don’t even think about it. We take our freedoms for granted once we achieve them.”
Slay told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
“It makes me proud as a citizen and as a mayor. I, and all of us standing here, are doing this to force the issue and to get the law settled for everyone who wants to get married in the state of Missouri.”
Attorney General Chris Koster, who is charged with enforcing the state’s constitution, went to court today seeking to stop the marriages. Although St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison denied a temporary restraining order, at a later date he will consider whether to grant an injunction.
Officials have agreed to not issue more marriage licenses to gay couples but they plan to challenge the statewide ban all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary.
Along with Durnell and Eaton, the other couples to marry yesterday were David Gray and Tod Martin, Miranda Duschack and Karen Davis, and Bruce Yampolsky and Terry Garrett.
Watch a video at the St. Louis Dispatch.
Missouri voters approved the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in 2004.