Gay marriage comes to Jackson County

Following a federal court ruling in Kansas City, Jackson County for the first time on Friday began allowing same-sex marriages.

By day’s end, a retired Jackson County judge had performed a dozen gay marriages in the legislative chambers of the downtown county courthouse.

It happened after U.S. District Judge Ortrie Smith ruled that state law banning same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

A judge in St. Louis also started allowing the marriages this week after a ruling by a state judge there.

On Friday, Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders said in a press release: “Courts are ruling that marriage is a fundamental right of every citizen. Given that marriage is such an important right, sound public policy dictates that right be applied uniformly across the state.”

But Missouri Attorney General Derek Schmidt is continuing his fight against gay marriage. Experts say the U.S. Supreme Court will probably have a final say on the issue that has gotten split rulings from federal appeals courts.

In Jackson County, retired county Judge Vernon Scoville said he will be available Monday to perform more gay marriages.

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