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.  

Lilly Leyh, left, and Sadie Pierce wait to get their marriage license in November 2014 at the St. Louis recorder of deeds office.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio file photo

After Wednesday's ruling that Missouri's same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional, offices in St. Louis and St. Louis County have begun issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

But so far, other counties in Missouri have expressed reluctance at issuing their own.

The Recorders' Association of Missouri, an organization that all recorders of deeds are part of, has advised recorders outside of the city of St. Louis not to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

A group of women hug at the St. Louis Recorder of Deeds office after a judge struck down Missouri's ban on same sex marriage.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

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.

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(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."

Legal Roundtable Previews Supreme Court Session

Oct 6, 2014
U.S. Supreme Court
supremecourt.gov

The U.S. Supreme Court started its new term Monday morning by announcing it would not hear petitions related to bans on gay marriage in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. 

Used with permission of Clementines

In 1978, the closet was the only safe place for most gay people in St. Louis. But after Clementines bar opened at 2001 Menard St., local gays found another, less lonely haven.

This week, Clementines announced that it’s closing.

When it opened, there was no such acronym as LGBT. In polite company, gays were referred to as homosexuals, and called much worse in private conversations and during all-too-common street harassment and violence. Sex between two men or two women was illegal in Missouri and many other states.

Janice Barrier (left) and her wife Sheri Schild were one of the 10 couples who sued the state to have their marriage recognize in Missouri.
Rachel Lippmann I St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 5:30 p.m. to reflect the correct number of couples involved in the suit.

Ten same-sex couples from Missouri will head to court in Kansas City on Thursday for the first day of a case seeking recognition of their marriages.  

The group's new logo
Provided by ShowMeMarriage

The rapidly changing landscape around same-sex marriage has prompted an education campaign to help Missourians keep up with the issue.

PROMO, an organization advocating for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) equality, is officially launching a new informational website.  ShowMeMarriage.com will offer updates, polling data and personal stories from same-sex couples.

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Last updated 3:59 p.m.

Mayor Francis Slay issued marriage licenses to four same-sex couples Wednesday night, in a direct challenge to Missouri's ban on such unions. 

"St. Louis is a city that doesn’t tolerate discrimination," Mayor Francis Slay said in a statement. "We are sending a message on what’s right, and I can’t think of anything more right than this."

Board president Dara Strickland
LGBT Center

Organizers of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Center of St. Louis plan to open their doors in a new spot by by Jan. 1.

They're looking to buy their own building. The wish list includes a space four times the size of the approximately 2,000 square-foot location they were renting at 4337 Manchester Ave. in The Grove.

From the movie site

St. Louis’ June 28-29 PrideFest may be weeks away, but more LGBT events and performances are coming up in the next few days.

Beginning Thursday night, Stray Dog Theatre presents “Love! Valour! Compassion!" to be staged every Thursday, Friday and Saturday through June 28 at South City's Tower Grove Abbey.

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Some Illinois counties are letting same-sex couples marry this weekend, ahead of the official June 1 date for legalizing such unions.

Jersey and Sangamon counties are among those who began taking applications for marriages licenses on Friday. Because June 1 is a Sunday, counties aren’t required to begin accepting applications until Monday, June 2.

But St. Clair County has been marrying same-sex couples since March.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Hearings began Wednesday on three articles of impeachment against Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon.

File photo

With income tax filings already underway, opponents of same-sex marriage have gone to court to block Missouri same-sex couples from filing joint tax returns as allowed under Gov. Jay Nixon’s executive order.

The opponents, who include former St. Charles County Executive Joe Ortwerth, filed Wednesday in Cole County Circuit Court to obtain a temporary restraining order to block the state from allowing the joint tax filings until the lawsuit is resolved.

Provided by the couple

While same-sex couples in Missouri ponder the uncertain impact of marrying in Illinois, one St. Louis pair plans to say "I do" across the river as another heads in the opposite direction.

As 29-year-old Kelsi Davis of south St. Louis plans to wed her partner Saturday in Illinois, her favorite romantic movie since the age of 4 is etched in her mind — and on her body: she has a “Princess Bride” tattoo on her hip which includes the film's signature line, "As You Wish."

wedding rings
Wikipedia

Same-sex couples in Missouri may not want to rush across the river to tie the knot.

Even though some counties in Illinois are beginning to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Jeffrey Mittman, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, says marriage licenses granted to two men or two women from Missouri may not prove valid.

James Cridland via Flickr

Missouri’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman is being challenged by a suit filed last week in Kansas City. Eight same-sex couples living in Missouri are seeking the state’s recognition of their out-of-state marriages.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Gov. Jay Nixon says he hopes Missourians get another chance to vote on same-sex marriage.

The Democrat made that comment Thursday in response to a reporter's question during the annual Missouri Press Association/Associated Press Day at the Capitol.  The governor said that he's in favor of repealing the 2004 constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

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Updated with additional information from the press conference, copy of the case.

Eight same-sex couples in Missouri have filed suit seeking to have their out-of-state marriages recognized in the state.

Marshall Griffin, KWMU

(Updated 2:50 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 9)

Four prominent conservatives, including former St. Charles County Executive Joe Ortwerth, have filed suit challenging Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s recent executive order to allow same-sex couples who have married in other states to file joint tax returns in Missouri.

Seven months before Illinois' same-sex marriage law goes into effect, a judge ruled Monday that two Chicago women can marry immediately because one of them has terminal cancer.

via Flickr/BluEyedA73

Will be updated.

Illinois is now the 16th state to allow same-sex marriage. 

Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill into law Wednesday in Chicago that makes the state the largest in the Midwest to legalize gay weddings. The law takes effect in June when county clerks can begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Illinois allowed civil unions in 2011, but it was a bumpy road to same-sex marriage in President Barack Obama's home state.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Gov. Jay Nixon announced this afternoon that legally married same-sex couples living in Missouri can file joint returns on their state income taxes.

The executive order allows the Missouri Department of Revenue to accept joint returns from same-sex couples who also file jointly for their federal taxes.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Governor Jay Nixon (D) has issued an executive order directing the Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR) to accept jointly filed state income tax returns from same-sex married couples living in the Show-Me State.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster appears to be siding with Gov. Jay Nixon’s announcement this week that same-sex couples married in another state can file joint tax returns in Missouri.

Koster, a former Republican who’s now a Democrat, declared through a spokeswoman late Friday that “Governor Nixon appears to be following the requirements of Missouri law on tax filing, as passed by the legislature.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Dear Beaconites -

Equality and inequality came into sharp focus in the news this week.

In Illinois, same sex couples won marriage equality. While the symbolic significance is sizable, the legal impact is unclear. Illinois already recognizes civil unions, and the federal government already is adjusting its regulations in light of the Supreme Court ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act.

Todd Sivia
Provided by Mr. Sivia

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - When Alton Tea Party co-organizer Rhonda Linders heard about 
Tuesday’s approval of same-sex marriage in Illinois, her first thoughts were about its religious implications.

“I believe marriage is between a man and a woman; that’s what it says in the Bible,” Linders said.

Provided by Colin Murphy (left) and Kurt Ross

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Gay and lesbian couples in Illinois are celebrating after the General Assembly gave final approval Tuesday to same-sex marriage. But next door in Missouri, a constitutional amendment banning such marriages remains firmly in place.

When O'Fallon, Ill., resident Colin Murphy first got the news that state lawmakers had approved same-sex marriage, he texted his husband: “We’re legally married.”

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