Supporters of same-sex marriage see more progress

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JEFFERSON CITY - The past several days represented huge leaps for Missourians in favor of same-sex marriage.

The Supreme Court turned away appeals from five states seeking to stop gay and lesbian marriages in an order issued Monday. The decision made gay marriage legal in a total 30 states.

Missouri is not one of those states, but as of October 3 it does recognize same-sex marriages from other states.

"I think it's great that they're basically not even dealing with such a matter because it's not really something that needs to reach as high as the Supreme Court," supporter of same-sex marriage Ryan Rams said.

Jackson County Circuit Judge J. Dale Youngs made the ruling in the Missouri lawsuit filed by 10 same-sex couples who were legally married in other states.

Attorney General Chris Koster, a Democrat, released a statement Monday stating he will not appeal Youngs' ruling, but he refused to comment any further when KOMU 8 asked his office to elaborate on the statement.

Part of the statement read, "At a time when Missouri is competing to attract the nation's premier businesses and most talented employees, we should not demand that certain individuals surrender their marriage licenses in order to live and work among us."

Executive Director for the Missouri Republican Party Matt Wills said it is a sad day for a state when a circuit judge can overrule what more than 70 percent of the state's citizens think. He was referring to a constitutional amendment voted on in 2004, in which 70 percent of Missourians voted in favor of a traditional definition of marriage.

Wills said he does not think 10 years later and 30 states allowing same-sex marriage change much for Missouri.

"My personal belief is that it would pass the same way that it did before, maybe higher, maybe lower, but I still think a traditional definition would pass," Wills said.

Rams did not agree.

"Society changes a lot of decisions that happen," Rams said. "Obviously, civil rights was another one where society agreed that something was wrong, and the majority won."

Monday's Supreme Court order including Idaho and Nevada means that in coming weeks, 32 states could allow same-sex marriage, an increase of 13 states since the beginning of the month. Colorado and Utah announced Tuesday they would order county clerks to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.