John M. Becker

BREAKING: State Judge Moves Marriage Recognition Forward in Missouri

Filed By John M. Becker | October 03, 2014 4:25 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: gay marriage, marriage discrimination, marriage equality, Missouri, same-sex marriage

missouri-map.jpgUPDATE: It looks like the order applies to ALL legal same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, not just the ten couples' marriages. See below.

A state court judge has ordered Missouri to recognize the legal marriages of ten same-sex couples performed elsewhere, the ACLU of Missouri reports:

Missouri Circuit Judge J. Dale Youngs ordered that the marriages of 10 couples must be recognized by the state of Missouri. His decision came eight days after hearing the oral arguments in Barrier v. Vasterling, Missouri's landmark case filed in February by the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri on behalf of 10 same-sex Missouri couples...

"Missouri has finally recognized our couples' marriages as being no different from any other marriage," said Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri.

Married plaintiffs Janice Barrier and Sherie Schild said "Our hearts are filled with jubilation. We believe the judge made a fair and just decision recognizing marriage for same-sex couples."

"This is a personal win for our 10 courageous couples who stepped up to represent the LGBT community," said Jeffrey A. Mittman, executive director of the ACLU of Missouri. "Even better ? this is a win for the whole state because a discriminatory law has been struck down."

Congratulations to the ACLU and the couples for this important step towards full marriage equality in the Show Me State!

A copy of the ruling is after the break, via Equality Case Files.

1416-CV03892 Opinion and Judgment by Equality Case Files

UPDATE: Contrary to the ACLU's initial report, it appears that today's order applies to the recognition of ALL legal same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions.

From the order:

"Defendants, their agents, servants, employees, attorneys, and all persons acting in knowing concert or participation with them who receive actual notice of this judgment by personal service or otherwise, are further permanently enjoined and restrained from refusing in any way to recognize these plaintiffs' marriages, as well as the marriages of any same-sex couples entered into in any jurisdiction in which same-sex couples may lawfully marry." [Emphasis mine.]

The Associated Press is reporting that it applies to all out-of-state marriages as well:

Missouri must recognize the marriages of same-sex couples legally performed in other states, a state judge ruled Friday, saying the state's constitution and laws banning the unions are unconstitutional.

The order by Jackson County Circuit Judge J. Dale Youngs means that such couples will be eligible to sign up for a wide range of tax, health insurance, veterans and other benefits now afforded to opposite-sex couples. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, who has defended the state's ban on gay marriage, said it was reviewing the ruling.

Youngs ruling comes in a lawsuit filed by 10 same-sex couples who were married in states where gay marriage is legal. They couple argue that their rights to equal protection and due process are being violated by Missouri's ban on gay marriage.

Young agreed, saying the couples deserve the same recognition as opposite-sex couples who were married in other states. He said the laws serve no legitimate government interest.

Looks like the news is even better than we initially thought. Awesome!!

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