Missouri AG files notice to appeal same-sex marriage ruling to 8th Circuit

Attorney General Chris Koster (D-Mo.)

Attorney General Chris Koster (D-Mo.)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster on Friday filed notice that he is appealing a federal judge’s ruling striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Attorney General Chris Koster (D-Mo.)

Attorney General Chris Koster (D-Mo.)

Although the November 7 ruling by by U.S. District Court Judge Ortrie D. Smith was stayed pending appeal, Jackson County — whose Recorded of Deeds was named as defendant — immediately began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in the Kansas City metro area.

Koster, a Democrat who says he personally supports marriage equality but will defend the state’s law, did not seek to block the marriages, but said at the time he would appeal the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

More than 3,000 Missourians signed a petition that was delivered to Koster last month urging him to not appeal the ruling.

Elsewhere Missouri, same-sex couples continue to marry in the city and county of St. Louis following a similar ruling two days earlier by St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison.

Koster has appealed that decision to the state Supreme Court, but as with the federal ruling, did not seek to block marriages from moving forward.

Outside the Kansas City and St. Louis areas, most local officials across the state are still declining to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Also in Missouri, state GOP leaders are seeking to intervene in a third case and appeal an October federal court ruling requiring officials to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

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PROMO, Missouri’s statewide LGBT advocacy organization, is calling on Koster to expedite the appeals so that county clerks across Missouri can start issuing marriage licenses.

“With three courts striking down the marriage ban in Missouri, and over 60 plus decisions ruling in favor of marriage, Attorney General Chris Koster’s action to appeal to the 8th Circuit Court shows that he is defending the indefensible,” said A. J. Bockelman, Executive Director of PROMO.

Missouri’s Amendment 2, which defines marriage in Missouri as between one man and one woman, was approved by 71 percent of voters in August 2004.

Same-sex marriage is currently legal in 35 states and the District of Columbia.

© Boom Magazine. Missouri's statewide LGBT news source.
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