Judge rules against Missouri gay marriage ban

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KANSAS CITY, MO (AP) – Officials in the Kansas City area say they will issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples following a federal court ruling striking down Missouri’s ban on gay marriage.

U.S. District Judge Ortrie R. Smith ruled Friday that Missouri’s constitutional provision limiting marriage to only a man and woman violates the U.S. Constitution.

Smith wrote that he was delaying the effect of his decision pending an appeal. But officials in Jackson County, which is home to Kansas City, announced later Friday that they will begin granting marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

The federal court ruling comes days after a state judge in St. Louis also invalidated Missouri’s gay marriage ban. Officials in St. Louis city and county already have begun issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.