Meet The Four Same-Sex Couples Legally Married In Missouri

By Rachel Brandt
In Culture

Last night, history was made in the office of Mayor Francis Slay when the first four same-sex couples in the state of Missouri were granted marriage licenses by Sharon Carpenter, the Recorder of Deeds and immediately after, legally married.

“The City issues thousands of licenses every year. What makes these four licenses very special is that these are first issued in the State of Missouri to couples of the same sex,” said Mayor Slay.

John and Richard 3

“This is not only a matter of fairness—and it certainly is that,” said Mayor Slay. “Cities are strengthened by their families. I want St. Louis to be the sort of diverse and open place in which all families—gay and straight—choose to live, be creative and build businesses. This is a human rights issue; it’s a quality of life issue.”

In 2004, Missouri became the first state in the U.S. to institute a ban on same-sex marriages. Yesterday, same-sex marriage became legal in Indiana and a federal appeals court upheld a decision striking down a ban in Utah as unconstitutional.

“It is our belief that the U.S. Constitution requires the recognition of same-sex marriages,” said Mayor Slay. “We have created a clear, direct legal challenge to Missouri’s unconstitutional ban on marriage equality. We hope to get this before the courts to settle this issue on behalf of all gay and lesbian people in our state.”

Below, meet the four courageous couples, who altogether represent 100 years of commitment and stood up for love and equality last night.

John and Richard 4

Durnell and Eaton

John Durnell + Richard Eaton

“After 39 years, we pretty much had our relationship down to an art. But knowing that we are truly recognized as a married couple is so amazing.”

John and Richard are Soulard residents who have been in a committed relationship for 39 years. Richard, 75, is a retired Missouri public school educator, counselor and psychologist, and John, 63, has spent his career building and restoring homes. They are both involved in local organizations like Soulard Neighborhood Housing Corporation, PROMO and Lafayette Park United Methodist Church.

Bruce and Terry 3

Yampolsky and Garrett, photo by Stephanie James courtesy of The Mayor’s Office

Bruce Yampolsky + Terry Garrett

“We are so happy and so pleased that love has taken us to this point in our lives. We’re glad to be part of history. But love is what it’s all about.”

Committed to each other for 30 years, Bruce and Terry used this momentous occasion to celebrate their anniversary. Both veterans and native St. Louisans, Bruce served in the United States Navy and Terry in the United States Army. Yampolsky and Garrett are both politically and socially active in the community. They attended the Democratic National Convention in 1992 as well as President Clinton’s Inauguration. Both serve on numerous local boards and as the former 28th Ward Democratic Committeeman and Finance Chair of the Central City Democratic Committee, Yampolsky was the first openly-gay elected official in the City of St. Louis.

Miranda Mima 3

Duschack and Davis courtesy of The Mayor’s Office

Miranda Duschack + Karen “Mimo” Davis

“It wasn’t so much about history, because by next week no one is going to remember that this is history. But it’s big for me, for us, because historically, I want to wake up in the morning and know I was on the right side. And that when the torch was passed to me, that I took it. We’re married, and it feels…like a confirmation…of a life.”

Miranda and Mimo have been together since 2010 and were married in a spiritual ceremony on September 2, 2012. They share their home in South City with two pups and together they own Urban Buds: City Grown Flowers in St. Louis. You can find them selling their flowers at Tower Grove Farmers’ Market and they also provide floral arrangements for special events.

Tod and David 4

Martin and Gray photo by Chris Burbach

Tod Martin + David Gray

“David and I have been together for 22 years now going on 23. We have seen ourselves as an old married couple for quite some time now. Last night, we were able to realize the happiness of actually being able to get married here in our home city, our home state; St. Louis, Missouri. We’re not special, we’re not unique, we are just up here representing ourselves and appreciative of the opportunity to play one small part in this history-making adventure.”

Tod and David have been in a committed relationship for over 20 years. They got engaged on June 26, 2013, the day that the Supreme Court dismantled DOMA. Since 1997, they have lived together in Tower Grove. David, an avid racing cyclist, is a Senior Project Manager at Edward Jones. Since 2007, Tod has served as Deputy Chief of Staff and State Director for Senator McCaskill.

Thank you to Rue de la Vie for sharing this special video from last night’s historic events.

John + Richard from Rue De La Vie on Vimeo.

Congratulations to these wonderful couples!

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