Missouri must recognize gay marriages performed outside the state, a judge ruled Friday.
The ruling will not require the Show-Me State to begin permitting same-sex marriages. The case was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of 10 Missouri same-sex couples.
“The undisputed facts before the court show that, to the extent these laws prohibit plaintiffs’ legally contracted marriages from other states being recognized here, they are wholly irrational, do not rest upon any reasonable basis, and are purely arbitrary,” Missouri Circuit Court Judge J. Dale Youngs wrote in the decision. “All they do is treat one segment of the population – gay men and lesbians – differently than their same-sex counterparts, for no logical reason.”
Jeffrey A Mittman, the executive director of the ACLU of Missouri, said in a statement: “This is a personal win for our 10 courageous couples who stepped up to represent the LGBT community. Even better – this is a win for the whole state because a discriminatory law has been struck down.”
Marriage equality advocates have seen a string of victories since the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in June 2013. More than a dozen U.S. states allow gay marriages to be performed. The Supreme court is discussing five gay marriage cases ahead of its upcoming term. The high court has faced mounting pressure – from states on both sides of the debate – to rule once and for all on gay marriage.