same-sex marriage

Outgoing PROMO executive director A.J. Bockelman
Provided by PROMO

The executive director of Missouri’s statewide organization for LGBT equality is leaving his post at the end of October. But it's possible he might later continue his work in a different arena: Jefferson City.

A.J. Bockleman has been executive director of PROMO since 2007. He announced today he’s stepping down after eight years of what often felt like an uphill, non-stop fight for LGBT rights.

(via Flickr/steakpinball)

The U.S. Supreme Court recently passed monumental decisions on same-sex marriage and upheld a high-profile challenge to the Affordable Care Act.

Monica Rea, left, and Pam Grakanoff lean back from a kiss after exchanging rings Saturday, June 27, 2015 at St. Louis City Hall.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 9:22 Sunday, June 28 with confirmed number of participants.

The St. Louis City Hall Rotunda echoed with laughter and cheers Saturday as same-sex couples were legally married. The ceremony took place just one day after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.

Monica Rea and Pam Graklanoff were one of twelve couples who exchanged wedding vows.

Many children were in the crowd at City Hall Friday night.
Cindy Betz

A joyous throng filled the rotunda of St. Louis’s City Hall Friday night — on the eve of PrideFest — to celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.

The court ruled Friday that all 50 states must allow these unions. They must also recognize such marriages performed in other states and countries.

U.S. Supreme Court
supremecourt.gov

The U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision recognizing a constitutional right of same-sex couples to marry traversed centuries of arguments about how the court should find new rights that are fundamental to individual liberty.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for a five-justice majority, came down firmly on the side of a Constitution that grows with time and that recognizes the “dignity” and “autonomy” of the individual. He said it is the job of judges to identify and protect newly recognized fundamental rights that haven’t been enumerated in the Constitution.

Arlene Zarembka and Zuleyma Tang-Martinez got married in Canada in 2005.
Sarah Kellogg | St. Louis Public Radio

In a resounding victory for the rights of same-sex couples, the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the U.S. Constitution requires states to issue marriage licenses to those couples.

Jim Obergefell is the lead plaintiff in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court that will likely decide whether same-sex marriage is legal throughout the country.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Updated on June 26 with news of ruling  — Today in a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution required states to give marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in that case, sat down to talk with St. Louis on the Air three weeks before the decision was handed down. 

Our original story.

Jim Obergefell's ring is fused with the ring of his late husband, John Arthur.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Jim Obergefell’s husband, John Arthur, passed away in 2013 but Arthur's legacy lives on ― in court and on Jim’s ring finger.

Later this month, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on a case in which Obergefell is the lead plaintiff. The case, Obergefell v. Hodges, will likely decide whether same-sex marriage is legal throughout the country. It’s currently legal in 37 states.

“St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh talked with Obergefell and A.J. Bockelman of PROMO. The full interview will air on Thursday.

Alex Heuer

New Jewish Theatre closes its 2014-15 with “My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding.” Based on a true story, the musical chronicles the life of writer David Hein’s mother while addressing the topic of marriage equality through song and dance. New Jewish Theatre artistic director Kathleen Sitzer and actors Ben Nordstrom and Laura Ackermann joined “Cityscape” host Steve Potter to discuss the production.

Nordstrom, who portrays David Hein, accompanied himself on guitar to perform the song that opens the production.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

The head of the Missouri Senate wants the authority to intervene in lawsuits whenever the attorney general chooses not to get involved.

The move follows recent court rulings that declared the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.

Ed Martin talks about his work as chairman of the Missouri Republican Party, and his new job as president of the Eagle Forum with 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh  on Feb. 12, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio file photo

Ed Martin wants to make it clear that he does not support same-sex marriage, and neither does the Eagle Forum.

Martin has taken over as president of the Eagle Forum, a conservative interest group created in the 1970s by Phyllis Schlafly. That organization describes itself as pro-family and has traditionally been anti-abortion and anti-same-sex marriage.

Human Rights Campaign / HRC logo

Missouri has a long way to go to achieve equality for LGBT residents, according to a national advocacy organization.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) issued a report today showing Missouri is among 29 states lacking basic equality standards. The organization gives Missouri particularly low marks in two areas:

U.S. Supreme Court
supremecourt.gov

The U.S. Supreme Court’s announcement that it will take up same-sex marriage this term has many people searching for clues to how the court’s justices may rule.

The high court will decide whether same-sex couples have a right to marry under the constitution. Specifically, the court will hear cases that ask it to overturn bans in four states. The cases will be argued in April; a decision is expected in June.

Reena Hajat Carroll, executive director of the Diversity Awareness Partnership, says the number of diversity training requests have "been crazy."
Provided by the Diversity Awareness Partnership

Many older Americans were introduced to their first interracial couple in 1967 by the Sidney Poitier classic featuring what was then a shocking pairing, on-screen or off. 

But today, especially when even same-sex interracial couples can marry in St. Louis, we don’t care who’s coming to dinner — right?

The Supreme Court of Missouri
via Flickr | david_shane

The Missouri Supreme Court is considering whether the state's ban on same-sex marriage also prevents gay couples in Missouri from getting divorced in Missouri courts.

A man identified only as M.S. married his male partner, identified as D.S., in Iowa in December 2012. The couple separated in August 2013, and in January of this year M.S. filed for divorce in St. Louis County. But Associate Circuit Judge John Borbonus ruled that Missouri's refusal to recognize same-sex marriages barred him from granting the couple a divorce.

James Cridland via Flickr

Producer's note: Join us for a special live edition of "St. Louis on the Air" at 10 p.m. Monday, following the announcement of the grand jury decision. You can listen live.

As the nation waited for the Darren Wilson grand jury decision announcement on Monday, the legal roundtable reconvened to discuss issues related to Ferguson, same-sex marriage and other legal issues.

Kurt Nordstrom via Flickr

The average cost of a wedding in Missouri is $22,343. Same-sex marriage is, at least for now, legal in Missouri. So what does that mean, economically?

Last week, a federal judge in Kansas City and a circuit court judge in St. Louis struck down Missouri's ban on same-sex marriage. 

Kurt Nordstrom via Flickr

It’s hardly June, but wedding vendors in Missouri are hearing from lots of couples.

Last week both a circuit court judge in St. Louis and federal judge in Kansas City found Missouri’s ban on same sex marriage unconstitutional. As a result the city of St. Louis, St. Louis County and Jackson County began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Pat Rutherford-Pettine, owner of the The Sugaree Baking Co., said she’s done wedding cakes and pies for civil unions for many years. She’s baking her first official wedding cake for a same sex couple in Missouri this week.

Lilly Leyh and Sadie Pierce wait to get their marriage license on Nov. 5, 2014, at the St. Louis recorder of deeds office.
Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

Last week, a federal judge in Kansas City followed a St. Louis judge and struck down Missouri’s ban on same-sex marriage.

“As it stands right now, marriage between same-sex couples is legal in Missouri,” A.J. Bockelman, executive director of Promo, told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Monday. Promo is a statewide organization that advocates for equality. “We have licenses being issued in St. Louis, St. Louis County and Kansas City.”

Lilly Leyh and Sadie Pierce wait to get their marriage license on Nov. 5, 2014, at the St. Louis recorder of deeds office.
Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 4:50 p.m. with comments from plaintiff Kyle Lawson.

Two days after a state judge in St. Louis came to the same conclusion, a federal judge in Kansas City has struck down Missouri's ban on same-sex marriage.  

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