US: Judge takes up challenge to same-sex marriage ban in Missouri
A judge has taken up a case brought by ten same-sex couples challenging the state of Missouri’s ban on recognising the marriages of gay and lesbian couples performed out of state.
An attorney acting on behalf of the couples argued that the state already recognises out-of-state marriages between opposite sex couples, even if they are too young to get married in Missouri, but that it will not recognise same-sex marriages.
Missouri citizens in 2004 voted to define marriage specifically as between one man and one woman.
The hearing on Thursday heard the plaintiffs argue that the definition of marriage is discriminatory, as it violates due process and equal protection rights.
Tara Kelly, an attorney acting on behalf of Kansas City, which is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, said the ban restricted the treatment of same-sex couples “in one very limited way”, and that it is “required by state law”.
Judge Dale Youngs said he would make his decision quickly, and said: “By no means will anything I say be the last word,” noting that higher courts are likely to be appealed.
“All the issues in the case have been extraordinarily well argued, and today is no exception. My job is to get everybody down the road,” Youngs continued.
A rally took place in favour of same-sex marriage outside the courthouse.
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