Kansas City Unlikely To Join St. Louis In Granting Same-Sex Marriage Licenses
City officials in St. Louis mounted a challenge to the state's same-sex marriage ban on Wednesday when they allowed four gay couples to wed at City Hall.
But on the other side of the state, it's unlikely Kansas City Mayor Sly James will follow suit. James tweeted Thursday that due to differences in the two cities' charters, he is unable to issue marriage licenses:
4 those asking, StL & KC Govs are totally different. I do not have legal ability to issue marriage licenses. Would if I could #KansasCity
— Mayor Sly James (@MayorSlyJames) June 26, 2014
On Twitter, James went on to write that Kansas City is not a "strong mayor" government, whereas St. Louis is.
"I hate using the word 'strong' because he's obviously a very strong mayor," says Kyle Piccola, the Kansas City field organizer for Missouri lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy group PROMO. "However, his capacity and his scope of power doesn't extend as far as St. Louis' mayor does."
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay has voluntarily halted same-sex marriages at the urging of Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, who in a statement expressed support for LGBT couples while explaining why he was suing the City of St. Louis.
"Regardless of my personal support for marriage equality, such vital questions cannot be decided by local county officials acting in contravention of state law," Koster writes.
Missouri was one of the first states to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Piccola says a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union and supported by PROMO filed earlier this year challenging the state's decade-old ban likely will go to court in September.
"The state of Missouri does have a pending court case challenging a section of our marriage ban, and we filed it right here in Kansas City," says Piccola.
The St. Louis same-sex marriages happened the same day federal judges struck down bans in Utah and Indiana. Twenty states now allow same-sex marriage.