A Kansas City judge says he will issue a ruling quickly in the case of ten same-sex couples who want their marriages recognized as legal in Missouri.
Those couples have been married in other states where same-sex marriage is legal. They’re challenging the ban on gay marriage that Missouri voters added to the state Constitution ten years ago.
Assistant Attorney General Jeremiah Morgan is defending that amendment as representing the will of the people of Missouri.
“The people … and of course the people, in this case by passing a constitutional amendment, are the ultimate source of sovereign power,” Morgan tells Circuit Judge James Dale Youngs.
American Civil Liberties Union Attorney Anthony Rothert argues that there are other types of marriage, such as those between first cousins, that Missouri does not allow but recognizes when they occur in other states.
“Excluding the plaintiffs from marriage even though they’re lawfully married in another state,” says Rothert, “and if they were married to someone of a different sex, they’d be married here – excluding them is rank discrimination.”
Kansas City is among the entities the suit is filed against, the attorney representing Kansas City, Tara Kelly, says the city supports same-sex marriage and provides all benefits it can under Missouri law.
She tells Judge Youngs that if he declared the ban on gay marriage unconstitutional, “The City would in fact welcome that opportunity to treat same-sex couples the same as different sex couples.”
Judge Youngs says he’ll issue his ruling quickly because he knows no matter how he rules, it will be appealed.
“My job is to get everybody down the road,” Youngs said after hearing arguments. “By no means will anything I say with regard to these issues be the last word … so my intention is to get you my word as quickly as possible.”