They're here. They're queer. And now they're married.
Gay marriage arrived suddenly in Missouri on Wednesday night when four gay couples wed in Mayor Francis Slay's office in a top-secret ceremony.
Each bride and groom knew they'd be jumping head first into a contentious and litigious public debate. By 7:30 a.m. the morning after the weddings, Attorney General Chris Koster was already asking for a temporary restraining order to stop the city from marrying more same-sex couples in violation of the Missouri Constitution.
Despite the upcoming legal challenge, the four marriage certificates issued to gay couples Wednesday night remain valid, making those couples the only ones married in Missouri. Meet the only four same-sex couples to be married in the Show-Me State:
John Durnell & Richard Eaton
John Durnell could hardly keep from crying Thursday morning as he addressed reporters, city staff and supporters as a newly married man.
"Knowing we are truly recognized as a married couple is truly amazing," Durnell says. Durnell and Eaton, who have been in a committed relationship for 39 years, were the first to wed in the mayor's office. Durnell, 63, spent his career restoring and building homes, and Eaton, 75, is a retired Missouri public school educator, teacher, counselor and a retired psychologist.
The couple has lived together in Soulard since 1981. They've volunteered with several community organizations, including Soulard Neighborhood Housing Corporation, Peter & Paul Housing Corporation, Forest Park Southeast Housing Corporation, Soulard Restoration Group, the Human Rights Commission, PROMO and the ACLU. Both are also heavily involved at their church, Lafayette Park United Methodist Church.
Keep clicking to meet three more couples.
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