Gutsy move in St. Louis will help overturn Missouri’s gay marriage ban

06/26/2014 11:27 AM

06/26/2014 11:54 AM

It finally happened: A high-ranking official in Missouri found the guts to challenge the state’s outdated ban on gay marriage.

The overwhelmingly likely result after the court cases play out: The 2004 law will be overturned, and same-sex couples will be allowed to marry in Missouri in the future.

Give credit to St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, who helped support four same-sex marriages Wednesday in his office at City Hall.

“It makes me proud as a citizen and as a mayor,” Slay said, as quoted in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

And more to the point: “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.... If we weren’t doing this, no other city in Missouri would.”

Kansas City Mayor Sly James tweeted Thursday: “4 those asking, StL & KC Govs are totally different. I do not have legal ability to issue marriage licenses. Would if I could #KansasCity”

As expected, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster went to court today to try to nullify the marriages. His job is to uphold the state constitution, which does include the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.

Koster did, though, make a point of saying he supports marriage equality.

The legality of similar bans has been struck down by courts in state after state in recent months. That’s leading to the potential that everyone is waiting for: a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court on whether gays can legally be married in America.

There’s no legitimate reason they shouldn’t have that right.

And while that kind of statement would have been unpopular with many Americans as recently as a decade ago, there’s been a sea-change in attitude on the issue.

Support for gay marriage was 39 percent in 2005, but has steadily climbed to 55 percent by May, according to the most recent Gallup Poll.

That’s a positive sign for the four gay couples married in St. Louis on Wednesday, and a positive sign for other Americans who want the same right.

Eventually, the Supreme Court is going to give it to them.

To reach Yael T. Abouhalkah, call 816-234-4887 or send email to Twitter @YaelTAbouhalkah.

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