Gay Marriages Performed in St. Louis City Hall
June 26, 2014
by John Long
BREAKING: As reported by Boom Magazine, the online source of LGBT news in St. Louis and nationally, St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay announced that the St. Louis Recorder of Deeds, Sharon Carpenter performed the legal marriages of four same-sex couples on June 25 in the Mayor's Office. It is expected that these marriages will be challenged as well as defended in the courts. A press conference is scheduled for 9 a.m. June 26. Read more at: Boom Magazine.
Read St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay's official statement:
Yesterday, the City of St. Louis issued marriage licenses to four couples who plan lives committed to each other.
That is not in itself remarkable. The City issues thousands of licenses a year. What makes these licenses special is that they are the first issued by the City of St. Louis to couples of the same sex.
In 2009, I was one of the mayors who voted to commit the US Conference of Mayors to supporting marriage equality for same-sex couples so that such unions would have the same rights – family leave, retirement benefits, tax equity, and constitutional protection against discrimination – as heterosexual couples.
In 2012, I joined the mayors of nearly 100 US cities in a proactive campaign in support of the freedom of gay and lesbian couples to marry and to enjoy the full rights of married couples.
This year, hundreds of mayors from across the country reaffirmed our support of the freedom to marry for same-sex couples and urged the courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, to speedily bring national resolution by ruling in favor of the freedom to marry nationwide.
I said then, and I repeat it now: this is not only a matter of fairness (though it is certainly that). Cities are strengthened by their families. I want St. Louis to be the sort of diverse and open place in which all families, gay and straight, choose to live, be creative, and build businesses.
I promised you a fourth term that would make some history because of what we would do together for St. Louis: St. Louis as a global competitor, as an international trade hub, as an incubator of new companies; as a place of culture and the arts; as a magnet for immigrants, for entrepreneurs, and for animal lovers; as a city of parks and trails; and as the sort of place that figures in young people's dreams. I promised to continue to build on a sense of tolerance that has already made St. Louis one of the nation’s most gay-friendly cities.
Yesterday’s action – and its announcement this morning - marks the City of St. Louis as a place unwilling to ask its residents to wait forever for a wave of tolerance to suddenly sweep up the Mississippi River. We acted, because it is the right thing to do.
I am aware that this action is going to be litigated.
I did not do this lightly, or without a great deal of thought. The City counselor and a former Missouri Supreme Court justice wrote opinions to guide us. They wrote that the U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land. They wrote that if the U.S. Constitution requires something that the Missouri Constitution prohibits, we have a legal duty to abide by the U.S. Constitution. And the City counselor concluded that the U.S. Constitution requires marriage equality.
So, yesterday afternoon, we purposely created a clear, direct legal challenge to Missouri's unconstitutional ban on marriage equality. I want to get this before the courts to settle this issue on behalf of all gay and lesbian people in our city and in our state.
Last night, I called Attorney General Chris Koster to tell him what we had done. I called General Koster because I want this to move forward in an orderly and respectful way. I do not want to create uncertainty while this matter goes through the courts. This morning, his lawyers and my lawyers have been in court. The attorney general asked us to cease, as is his duty. We agreed in court that we would not issue any more licenses until this matter is resolved by the Missouri Supreme Court –or by a change in state law or by a federal court order.
But, make no mistake about it. 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.
I strongly commend the courage of the couples, some of whom I have known for years; others of whom I have met only recently. They will face scrutiny of the intolerant, supported by the love and respect of most fair minded people. I wish them every happiness, and I pledge the full resources of my office to affirm the solemn contracts they have made to each other.