(Reuters) - Missouri's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, a St. Louis circuit judge ruled on Wednesday, adding momentum to efforts in states across the country to legalize gay nuptials.
The decision comes a day after a federal judge ruled that neighboring Kansas also was violating the U.S. Constitution by refusing to allow same-sex marriages. More than 30 U.S. states permit same-sex couples to marry.
"Marriage equality is now the law of the land in the state of Missouri," said Winston Calvert, the city attorney for St. Louis, who argued against the state's same-sex marriage ban. "This decision finally enforces that constitutional guarantee of equality for gay and lesbian couples."
In his ruling, St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison said that "the freedom to marry is a fundamental right and liberty deeply rooted in the history of the United States." He found that the state ban on same-sex marriage was not tied to a "legitimate government interest."
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