Platte County will not start issuing same-sex marriage licenses in wake of a controversial ruling made Friday morning. U.S. District judge Ortrie Smith issued an 18-page legal document in response to a lawsuit filed by two men against Jackson County, claiming their right to a same-sex union was being infringed upon. Smith declared a Missouri law and amendment to the state constitution were in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s due process clause and the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.
In response, Jackson County began issuing same-sex marriage licenses at 2 p.m.
However, Smith’s ruling also includes a stay of judgement until the appeals process is completed in the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals or the U.S. Supreme Court, which has previously declined to take up the case. Platte County recorder of deeds Gloria Boyer said on Friday afternoon that the county would abide by that stay on the advice of legal counsel with the Recorders’ Association of Missouri and would not begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses until the appeals process is completed or advice of legal counsel changes.
According to workers in the Platte County recorder’s office, only one call was received from the general public inquiring about the availability of a same-sex marriage license as of Friday afternoon.
Missouri attorney general Chris Koster immediately announced an appeal would be filed on Smith’s ruling. This falls in line with other legal action after similar rulings earlier this week in St. Louis and Topeka, Kan.
In 1996, the Missouri General Assembly passed law declaring, "It is the public policy of this state to recognize marriage only between a man and a woman," exclusively reserving marriage licenses for unions between a man and a woman. In August 2004, voters overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment in Missouri banning gay marriage in the state, saying "a marriage shall exist only between a man and a woman."