Jackson County issues first same-sex marriage licenses

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The first same-sex couple has been married following a ruling from the U.S. District Court of Western Missouri.

"We woke up finding out that we were able to do it this morning; startling news because we've waited so long," said Robert Gann.

Gann and John Rodricks tied the knot Friday.

"We were confused about what was going on this morning, we left the house thinking we'd be okay, but on the way here Rob was reading some stuff on his phone and he said, 'oh, it's just for people in St. Louis,' and I'm like, 'no, that can't be right,'" said Rodricks, "So we came here and found it is was true, and said, 'well, we're not leaving without a marriage license today.'"

Based on the ruling from the U.S. District Court of Western Missouri, the Jackson County Recorder of Deeds began issuing same-sex licenses starting at 2 p.m. Friday.

"To actually have it come to pass, I'm just excited, overwhelmed!" added Gann.

"We sat down and that was about 9:45 this morning, and we waited, then the director came and said we can do the license, and I can't even describe what that feels like," said Rodricks.

They've been together almost eight years, they've known each other for 14. They say they didn't think this day would come so soon, and felt a sense of urgency.

"There's that window of time that we anticipated that if we didn't do it now, then it could be shut down very quickly," Gann said.

"We were scared we would lose the opportunity, because we've seen it happen in other parts of the country where a judge makes a decision and then another judge overturns it," added Rodricks.

"It's like prohibition, you can drink all day long, but once they make it illegal, you can't. Well, when they got married it was legal, so if they do something different, too bad! They're married," said retired Judge Vernon Scoville.

Judge Scoville said it was an honor to perform the marriage ceremony.

"This is history in the making," said Judge Scoville, "Those guys, they're married…good luck!"

John and Rob say they like being the first same-sex couple married here, but they're just happy it's finally legal.

"It makes for a good wedding story, when it comes down to it we're getting married, it doesn't matter if we're first or 50th," said Rodricks, "Seeing it overturned is a fantastic day in Missouri, and I think we will see all couples, whether they're straight or gay benefit from this. It's going to give marriage a new definition and it just makes marriage more valuable for everyone."

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster plans to appeal Friday's federal court ruling, so it's unclear how long Jackson County will be able to continue issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Regardless, Judge Scoville said Friday's marriages are legal no matter what.

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