A federal judge on Friday (7 November) struck down Missouri’s ban on gay marriage that was passed by voters in the Midwestern state 10 years ago.
US District Court Judge Ortrie D. Smith ruled that the ban is unconstitutional and that that same-sex couples can obtain marriage licenses.
The state has said it will appeal.
Smith’s ruling comes two days after same-sex marriage marriage licenses began being issued in the city of St. Louis where a state judge lifted the ban.
Smith’s decision applies to the entire state.
The ruling comes in a case filed in June by the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri on behalf of same-sex couples Angela Curtis and Shannon McGinty and Kyle Lawson and Evan Dahlgren after they were denied marriage licenses.
‘This is a historic day for same-sex couples, who have waited far too long to be able to marry in Missouri,’ said Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri said in a statement.
The Missouri ruling comes one day after the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals bucked the trend of recent legal decisions and upheld marriage bans in four states.
Because the 6th Circuit split from other Circuit courts that upheld the striking down of bans, it is likely that the US Supreme Court will step in and decide the matter for the nation.