Gay couples begin to marry in Kansas City

FILE- In this June 26, 2013 file photo, gay rights advocate Vin Testa waves a rainbow flag in front of the Supreme Court in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — 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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