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Same-sex marriage in Missouri

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Missouri recognizes same-sex marriages when performed in other jurisdictions. On November 5, 2014 a state court ruling striking down Missouri's same-sex marriage ban ordered the City of St. Louis to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. St. Louis County and Jackson County also issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

On November 7, 2014, a federal court ruling striking down Missouri's same-sex marriage ban ordered Jackson County to issue licenses to same-sex couples; even though it was stayed pending appeal, Jackson County began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples immediately following the ruling.

Lawsuits Edit

  • Messer v. Nixon. On November 14, 2013, Governor Jay Nixon issued an Executive order allowing same-sex couples married in other jurisdictions to file a combined Missouri income tax return if they file their federal return jointly.[1] Four conservatives, three associated with the Missouri Baptist Convention and one a former St. Charles County Executive now tied to Focus on the Family, filed Messer v. Nixon in Cole County Circuit Court on January 8, seeking to prevent the practice.[2]

The ACLU of Missouri initiated three lawsuits in 2014.

  • Barrier v. Vasterling, which challenged the state's refusal to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions, was filed in state circuit court on February 11[3] on behalf of eight same-sex couples,[4] later joined by two more. Oral arguments were held on September 25, before Judge J. Dale Youngs in Kansas City, Missouri.[5] On October 3, Judge Youngs ruled that Missouri's refusal to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions violated the plaintiffs' right to equal protection under both the state and federal constitutions.[6] He ordered the state to recognize such marriages and held the state responsible for the plaintiffs' legal expenses.[7] On October 6, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced the state would not appeal the decision.[8]
  • State of Missouri v. Florida. In June, St. Louis officials licensed four same-sex marriages in order to provide the basis for a law suit when the state ordered them to stop the practice.[9] St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison held a hearing in the suit, originally State of Missouri v. Carpenter, on September 29 in state circuit court.[10] He found for the plaintiffs on November 5, ruling that Missouri's refusal to license same-sex marriages violates the Missouri and federal constitutions.[11] Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced plans to appeal the ruling to the Missouri Supreme Court, but not to seek a stay of the ruling's implementation because "following decisions in Idaho and Alaska, the United States Supreme Court has refused to grant stays on identical facts."[12] Attorney General Koster and the Recorders' Association of Missouri said Judge Burlison's order only applied to the city of St. Louis,[13] where the city's marriage license department began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.[14] St. Louis County, where an official said "We believe it's a county-by-county decision",[13] began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples the next day.[15]
  • Lawson v. Kelly. Also in June, Jackson County denied marriage licenses to two same-sex couples, which provided, according to Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders, a better vehicle for a lawsuit than the St. Louis case.[16] On June 24, the ACLU filed Lawson v. Kelly in Jackson County circuit court on behalf of two same-sex couples who had been denied marriage licenses there.[17] Jackson County officials said it was up to the state attorney general to defend the state's position.[16] Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster intervened and had the case moved to federal district court, where it was assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Ortrie D. Smith.[18] Judge Smith ruled for the plaintiffs on November 7. He ordered Jackson County to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but stayed his order pending appeal. Attorney General Koster announced he would appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.[19] Despite the stay, Jackson County began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples immediately following the decision.[20]

References Edit

  1. "Missouri governor allows same-sex couples to file joint tax returns", Washington Post, November 15, 2013. Retrieved on September 25, 2014. 
  2. "Conservatives File Suit Against Nixon's Order Regarding Same-Sex Couples' Tax Filings", St. Louis Public Radio, January 9, 2014. Retrieved on September 25, 2014. 
  3. Miley, Cynthia. "ACLU files lawsuit over Missouri ban on recognizing same-sex marriages", February 14, 2014. Retrieved on April 28, 2014. 
  4. "The Eight Couples Fighting for Marriage Equality in Missouri", Vital Voice, June 4, 2014. Retrieved on September 25, 2014. 
  5. "Judge to rule 'as quickly as possible' in Missouri same-sex marriage case", St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 25, 2014. Retrieved on September 25, 2014. 
  6. "Judge orders Missouri to recognize same-sex marriages", Washington Blade, October 3, 2014. Retrieved on October 3, 2014. 
  7. "Missouri Must Recognize Same-Sex Marriages Granted Elsewhere, State Court Rules", BuzzFeedNews, October 3, 2014. Retrieved on October 3, 2014. 
  8. "Press Release: Attorney General Koster's statement on his decision not to appeal in Barrier v. Vasterling", Missouri Times, October 6, 2014. Retrieved on October 6, 2014. 
  9. "Battle over same-sex marriages in St. Louis headed to court", St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 26, 2014. Retrieved on September 25, 2014. 
  10. "St. Louis Challenge to Gay Marriage Ban in Court", Washington Times, September 29, 2014. Retrieved on November 5, 2014. 
  11. "Judge rules that gay marriage ban in Missouri is unconstitutional", St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 5, 2014. Retrieved on November 5, 2014. 
  12. "AG Koster's statement regarding today's ruling in St. Louis same-sex marriage case", Missouri Attorney General, November 5, 2014. Retrieved on November 5, 2014. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 "Many Missouri Counties Not Granting Gay Marriages", ABC News, November 6, 2014. Retrieved on November 7, 2014. 
  14. "Missouri's gay marriage ban thrown out; St. Louis issuing licenses", Los Angeles Times, November 5, 2014. Retrieved on November 5, 2014. 
  15. "St. Louis County Complies with Ruling on Gay Marriage Ban, Issues First Two Same Sex Marriage Licenses", St. Louis County, November 6, 2014. Retrieved on November 6, 2014. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 "Same sex marriage ban fight moves to KC", KMAland, July 4, 2014. Retrieved on September 25, 2014. 
  17. "ACLU challenges Missouri ban on gay marriage", KSDK, June 27, 2014. Retrieved on September 25, 2014. 
  18. "Missouri Same-Sex Marriage Case Moves Up to Federal Court", Riverfront Times, August 8, 2014. Retrieved on September 25, 2014. 
  19. Geidner, Chris. "Missouri's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Is Unconstitutional, Federal Judge Rules", BuzzFeed News, November 7, 2014. Retrieved on November 7, 2014. 
  20. "Same-sex marriages begin in Jackson County after U.S. judge finds state ban unconstitutional", Kansas City Star, November 7, 2014. Retrieved on November 8, 2014. 


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