I have a friend who has lived in St. Louis with his same-sex partner for years. About a year ago, we were discussing same-sex marriage rights and my friend expressed his hope that Missouri would NOT join the other states that permit same sex couples to marry because he was not sure he wanted to commit to his partner. Well, my friend, you now face the same dilemma as commitment-phobic partners in opposite-sex couples, and can no longer blame the law for your failure to commit.
Yesterday, a St. Louis Circuit Court judge ruled that Missouri’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and “in violation of the Equal Protection Clause and Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.” It was just a month ago that a Missouri court held that same sex marriages performed in other states would be recognized in Missouri. That ruling required that Missouri recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states, but it did not address laws that bar same-sex couples from getting married in Missouri. This subsequent decision removes that bar.
In light of yesterday’s ruling, the St. Louis Recorder of Deeds may issues marriage licenses to same-sex couples immediately – and my friend may find himself having the dreaded “relationship talk.”