By: Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C.
Mayor Francis Slay and the City of St. Louis have taken a historic step, and done so with impeccable timing. On June 25, 2014, the City issued four marriage licenses to same-sex couples. This came on the heels of federal court decisions holding Utah’s and Indiana’s state bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, as well as on the one year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, invalidating a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act, and a few days before St. Louis’s annual PrideFest. While Missouri has a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, federal district courts across the United States have struck down similar bans, and now the City of St. Louis has launched a direct challenge to Missouri’s law. In the year following the Windsor decision, 22 consecutive decisions have found in favor of same-sex marriage.
In a press release, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has said that, while he supports same-sex marriage, as the Attorney General it is his duty to defend Missouri laws, and he would seek an injunction to stop officials from issuing additional licenses. The City of St. Louis has agreed not to issue additional licenses for the time being. Mr. Koster also noted that there were currently cases pending regarding the constitutionality of Missouri’s ban; however, no pending cases get to the heart of the issue, or the point of the City of St. Louis’ action: do same-sex couples in Missouri have the right to get married?
The City is seeking to have the ultimate question answered, which could turn any decision made on these cases on its head. Other cases are also heading to the appellate courts. Now, the question of same-sex marriage is in the hands of the judiciary, and we can only wait and see what happens. For questions about same sex marriage or divorce, contact the attorneys at Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C.