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Local Couple Following Gay Marriage Arguments Closely

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR)-- Wednesday, the court will hear arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Rulings in both cases are expected this June.

FOX 2's Charles Jaco talked to a local couple following the arguments closely in both cases.

They have an adopted son. They've been married for ten years. But because they live in Missouri, the state says none of that is legal.

Lawrence Miskel and Ryan Barker travelled from St. Louis to Iowa to get married 10 years ago.   They have a 14-year-old son. But because Missouri voters outlawed gay marriage in 2004, the state they call home doesn't recognize their marriage.

Several officials from past republican administrations spoke in favor of gay marriage before Tuesday’s court session. That led to a blast from Phyliss Schlafly, head of St. Louis' Eagle forum, in a letter to the GOP national chairman.

“The endorsement of same-sex marriage is not acceptable. I view this as extremely important to the credibility of the republican party to the millions of American families who constitute the very base of the party.”

Missouri democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, meanwhile has become one of a half-dozen US senators to endorse same-sex marriage in the last 48 hours. In fact, in the 9 years since Missouri outlawed same sex marriage, public opinion has completely shifted.

And will evolve more when the Supreme Court rules in June.

The case the Supreme Court heard Tuesday will affect only California. But Wednesday’s arguments about the federal defense of marriage act will determine if the federal government recognizes same-sex marriages. Eleven states and the District of Columbia have legal same-sex marriage. A bill to legalize gay marriage in Illinois has passed the state senate, but not the house.