ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – History was made Wednesday night at St. Louis City Hall with what appeared to be the first legally binding same-sex marriage, marriage license and all.
St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison ruled Missouri's gay marriage ban violated the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
After the afternoon ruling, the City Recorder's Office immediately began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
April Breeden and Crystal Peairs figured they'd been waiting long enough.
They were among those rushing to apply for marriage licenses in the wake of the ruling.
They and their minister believe they were the first to get their license at the City Hall and actually get married on the spot, Wednesday night.
“I waited 19 years to marry this woman. So I’m not going to wait any longer,” Breeden said. “I don’t need a wedding dress. I just need her. So it works.”
The couple traveled to California to be legally married in 2008.
They wanted to be married where they actually lived.
Their St. Louis wedding was a tribute in a way to her Breeden’s deceased father, Carl, who fought for same-sex marriage rights in her home state of Indiana.
“He would be so honored and so proud that we are standing here today,” Peairs said. “We did this today for us. We did this for all the other couples. We did this for her family. We did this for her father. Why we’re here is that everybody should have the right to marry the person they love.”
“I’m really sad he didn’t’ get to see it in Missouri,” Breeden said with tears in her eyes. “Hopefully he’s watching.”
“Right before we started, I took a deep breath and looked at both of them and just realizing the historical moment that this is, to stand before them and before witnesses and before God,” said Rev. Katie Hotze-Wilton of Metropolitan Community Church, who presided over the wedding. “I know the vow that I made as a minister that this would be important that this means something that it does mean something in the eyes of God.”
“The more you know about it, the more you really think about it, this is just about treating people equally under the law,” said Mayor Francis Slay.
He helped orchestrate 4 same sex-marriages at City Hall this summer as legal challenge. Missouri overwhelmingly approved a state amendment to ban same-sex marriage in 2004.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, supports same-sex marriage, but said legally the matter must be appealed to Missouri Supreme Court for final resolution.
He did not seek a stay.
Unless and until the high court rules otherwise, same-sex marriage is legal in St. Louis and the entire State of Missouri, Slay said.