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.
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.
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 were the first couple in St. Louis to get their marriage license after a state court judge struck down Missouri's ban on same-sex marriage on Nov. 5. A federal court did the same on Nov. 7
A judge in St. Louis has ruled Wednesday that Missouri's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Almost immediately, several same-sex couples made their way to City Hall to get their marriage licenses.
"The court recognizes that the freedom to marry is a fundamental right and liberty deeply rooted in the history of the United States," St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison said in his ruling Wednesday. He heard arguments in the case on Sept. 29.
(Updated at 5:45 p.m. with quotes from the ACLU and additional information.)
Attorney General Chris Koster will not appeal a Kansas City judge's ruling that ordered the state of Missouri to recognize the marriage of same-sex couples who wed outside of the state.
"Our national government is founded upon principles of federalism – a system that empowers Missouri to set policy for itself, but also obligates us to honor contracts entered into in other states," Koster said in a statement. Missouri's future will be one of inclusion, not exclusion."