ST. LOUIS – The City of St. Louis made history Wednesday night when four same-sex couples were married in Mayor Francis Slay's office, according to Mayor Slay's spokesperson Maggie Crane.
Each couple received a marriage license from St. Louis Recorder of Deeds Sharon Carpenter ahead of the ceremony, which is in violation of the state's ban.
PROMO, which is a LGBT advocacy group, said that the licenses were issued on the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court striking down the federal defense of marriage act.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said he personally supports gay marriage but will defend the state's constitutional ban, according to the Associated Press. He will seek an injunction to prevent officials from issuing same-sex marriage licenses.
Koster released the following statement:
"While I personally support the goal of marriage equality, my duty as Attorney General is to defend the laws of the state of Missouri. While many people in Missouri have changed their minds regarding marriage equality, Missourians have yet to change their constitution.
"Cases currently pending in Jefferson City and Kansas City regarding the constitutionality of Missouri's ban against same-sex marriage will be decided in the coming months. Regardless of my personal support for marriage equality, such vital questions cannot be decided by local county officials acting in contravention of state law.
"Therefore, I have asked the St. Louis Circuit Court to prevent the St. Louis City Recorder of Deeds from issuing such marriage licenses until this matter can be resolved by our state's judiciary. This question will likely be fully answered by our Missouri courts within the next 12-18 months."
The attorney for the City of St. Louis said Thursday morning that he is prepared to fight Koster all the way to the Supreme Court.
In 2004, Missouri voters approved the same-sex marriage ban.
Earlier this year, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against Missouri to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages.
The Missouri Catholic Conference released the following statement regarding the same-sex marriages conducted:
The Missouri Catholic Conference is deeply disappointed that Mayor Slay and other public officials of the City of St. Louis have chosen to conduct same-sex ceremonies in open defiance of the Missouri Constitution, which protects marriage as a union of one man and one woman.
Marriage has existed for centuries as the union of one man and one woman for the benefit of the spouses, the creation of a stable environment for the upbringing of children, and to serve as the fundamental building block of society for the common good. Public officials fail in their duty to protect this institution and the common good by taking actions designed to re-define marriage.
Catholic teaching respects the dignity of all people, including those with same-sex attraction; but this same teaching proclaims the truth that marriage is the union of one man and one woman only. This teaching on the true nature of marriage is shared by many other faith traditions, as well as people of good will.
As the public policy agency of the Catholic bishops of Missouri, the Missouri Catholic Conference (MCC) is charged with seeking the common good of all Missourians. The MCC urges the Missouri Attorney General to defend the state constitution and to protect the institution of marriage, an institution that is vital to the continued well-being of our state.
Springfield News-Leader contributed to this report.