Gay couples begin to marry in Kansas City after federal judge rules ban unconstitutional

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KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Same-sex marriages have begun in the Kansas City area after a federal judge ruled that Missouri's ban on gay marriage violates the U.S. Constitution.

A retired judge performed a marriage ceremony Friday for John Kenny Rodricks and Robert Gann at the Jackson County courthouse following a ruling earlier in the day by U.S. District Judge Ortrie R. Smith.

Smith's ruling came days after a state judge in St. Louis also invalidated Missouri's gay marriage ban.

Marriage licenses now are being issued to same-sex couples in both the Kansas City and St. Louis areas. But other officials across the state aren't following suit.

Smith wrote that he was delaying the effect of his decision during an appeal, but officials in Jackson County decided to issue the licenses anyway.

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