- Associated Press - Friday, June 26, 2015

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The latest reaction in Missouri to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to legalize marriages between same-sex couples (all times local):

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6:30 p.m.

Missouri’s Republican Senate leaders are criticizing the landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to legalize marriages between same-sex couples.

Senate Majority Leader Ron Richard said the Friday decision encroaches on states’ rights.

Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey echoed that sentiment, citing a 2004 constitutional amendment to ban the practice that garnered support from about 70 percent of voters.

Both raised concerns that the decision could infringe on individuals’ ability to exercise their religion.

While Missouri’s Legislature is controlled by Republicans, Democrats hold most of the statewide offices.

Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon in contrast has said he’d ensure the decision is implemented in the state. Attorney General Chris Koster dropped appeals of two cases dealing with same-sex marriage.

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6:00 p.m.

Gay Missouri lawmakers responded to the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision to legalize marriages for same-sex couples with joy and excitement.

Democratic Rep. Mike Colona of St. Louis said the Friday decision will mean he now has the right to marry his partner of 23 years. Colona says he hopes the decision will make Missouri stronger because more families can marry.

Former Democratic Sen. Jolie Justus of Kansas City called it a big win for equality. Justus sponsored failed legislation to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Other supporters of the Supreme Court’s decision cautioned that Missouri laws still allow discrimination based on sexual orientation.

American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri attorney Tony Rothert says while same-sex couples now can marry, people still can be fired in Missouri for being gay.

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2:45 p.m.

A Missouri association for officials charged with issuing marriage licenses is recommending that all counties comply quickly with the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling to legalize gay marriage.

The Recorders’ Association of Missouri president, Jan Jones, said Friday that she’s asking officials to begin granting licenses as soon as possible.

She says she hasn’t heard of any county recorders opting to wait the full 25 days until the decision is official.

Jones noted some might experience technical delays because some software counties use might not have options for marrying two men or two women.

Some same-sex couples in Missouri received marriage licenses within hours of the decision.

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2:15 p.m.

Two of Missouri’s Republican state lawmakers say they’re unhappy the U.S. Supreme Court decided to legalize gay marriages instead of leaving that up to the states.

Republican Rep. Sonya Anderson of Springfield said after the Friday ruling that she’s disappointed, and believes marriage should be between and man and a woman.

Anderson says the decision should be left up to individual states. About 70 percent of voters supported Missouri’s constitutional ban on gay marriages when it was enacted in 2004.

Republican Rep. Mike Cierpiot (SEEHR’-poy) of Lee’s Summit says he doesn’t support same-sex marriages, but understands public sentiment is changing on the issue.

He also said states should be left alone to accommodate the public.

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Noon

The U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision to legalize gay marriages allowed a Missouri same-sex couple to receive a marriage license after waiting a year.

A Columbia couple of two decades said they were watching online when the Friday decision came down and started crying with joy.

Fifty-eight-year-old Laura Zinszer and her 52-year-old partner, Angela Boyle, immediately rushed to the Boone County Recorder of Deed’s Office.

They had submitted their marriage application a year ago, and the office placed it on hold while the courts battled over the legality of same-sex marriages.

The couple was issued a license after attorneys from the office reviewed the high court’s decision. Three of their children are flying to Columbia this weekend to attend the couple’s wedding Monday.

Recorder of Deeds Nora Dietzel said the office phone “blew up” with calls once the ruling came through Friday.

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11:30 a.m.

Missouri’s Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster is dropping appeals of two cases dealing with same-sex marriage following the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision to legalize those unions.

Koster announced he’s dismissing appeals for the cases hours after the high court’s Friday decision.

One is a federal challenge of Missouri’s ban on marriages for same-sex couples. The other is a St. Louis County case that focused on city officials who issued marriage licenses to four same-sex couples to trigger a legal test of the ban.

Koster earlier Friday applauded the justices’ decision in a statement sent from his campaign. He’s running for governor in 2016.

Koster has said he personally supports gay marriage but pursued the appeals at both the state and federal levels to clarify the legal uncertainty.

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11 a.m.

Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders says the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage is an “historic victory” for equality.

Jackson County has been issuing same-sex marriage licenses since November 2014. Sanders said in a statement that the county has issued 260 same-sex marriage licenses since then, about 7 percent of the licenses issued in the county since then.

Sanders lauded the Supreme Court for seeing the issue for “what it truly is, a civil rights issue.”

“I applaud today’s decision and look forward to residents being able to marry, regardless of their sexual orientation.”

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10:45 a.m.

A Springfield couple who married in Iowa three years ago is celebrating Friday’s ruling.

Amanda Derham and her wife, Lori, who helped start the Springfield chapter of Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, said they were “beyond words.”

“Our 2-year-old son keeps yelling for cake because he knows it’s a celebration in this house,” Amanda Derham said. “It feels good to know we can be recognized anywhere in the states.”

The Springfield News-Leader reports (http://sgfnow.co/1Hkj0Sn) Bishop James Johnston of the Springfield Catholic Diocese decried the ruling. He said in a statement an essential part of marriage is a physical union that could create new life.

“That is biology, not bigotry,” he wrote. “It is also much more, in that it forms the basis for a healthy, stable culture for raising children to become integrated adults and citizens.”

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10:30 a.m.

Some Missouri same-sex couples might have to wait to obtain marriage licenses following Friday’s landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision to legalize those unions.

Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon on Friday said he’ll take necessary action to implement the ruling throughout the state.

But the court’s ruling won’t take effect immediately. Justices are giving the losing side about three weeks to ask for reconsideration.

Recorders in the Kansas City and St. Louis areas have been issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples since federal and state-level rulings overturned Missouri’s ban on the practice.

But recorders in other counties were hesitant and said those rulings didn’t apply statewide.

Recorders on Friday appeared to be taking a similarly cautious approach as the U.S. Supreme Court ruling was reviewed.

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