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ACLU to challenge Missouri ban on same-sex marriage

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — The American Civil Liberties Union plans to file suit challenging Missouri’s treatment of same-sex marriages, an ACLU spokeswoman said Tuesday.

MissouriACLU’s Diane Balogh said the suit will be filed Wednesday in state court in Kansas City, but she refused to discuss specific details. News conferences announcing the litigation are planned for Wednesday in Kansas City, St. Louis, Jefferson City and Springfield.

It was unclear if the ACLU suit will challenge Missouri’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriages or if it would simply ask that the state recognize marriages from other states.

Missouri in 2004 became the first state to enact a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage after the Massachusetts Supreme Court permitted gay marriage there. The Missouri measure was approved by 70 percent of the vote.

In the decade since then, much has changed. Courts and the federal government have chipped away at laws prohibit ing same-sex marriage. Seventeen states now allow it.

On Tuesday, Nevada’s attorney general and governor said the state has decided against defending its constitutional ban on same-sex marriages, a case that was pending before a federal appeals court. Federal courts in other states have struck down same-sex marriage bans, most recently in Utah and Oklahoma.

But many Missouri legislators and interest groups continue to staunchly defend marriage as between a man and a woman.

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Joe Ortwerth, executive director of the Missouri Family Policy Council, noted that Missouri voters “emphatically” chose against gay marriage in that 2004 vote.

“We pray that our state judiciary will respect U.S. Supreme Court precedent that makes clear that laws governing marriage and the family are the rightful jurisdiction of the states,” Ortwerth said in a statement.

In November, Gov. Jay Nixon directed the Missouri Department of Revenue to accept joint tax returns from same-sex couples who are legally married in other states. The state attorney general’s office has said the policy appears to comply with Missouri law, though a lawsuit filed by same-sex marriage opponents has challenged the directive.

Nixon’s directive prompted a Republican lawmaker last week to file articles of impeachment against the Democratic governor.

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23 more reader comments:

  1. ITS OUR TIME

    Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 6:46pm
  2. Good

    Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 6:50pm
  3. YES!!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 6:50pm
  4. When I just got married in Iowa. Womp womp womp

    Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 6:53pm
  5. Yup! We here in Iowa chose to get with the program near the beginning. Congratulations, and many happy years to you both!

    Replied on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 7:23pm
  6. Wish we could work on getting help in Ohio!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 6:54pm
  7. Send them to Alabama

    Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 7:17pm
  8. I am gay & I live in Missouri. While I am happy for all the states who have legalized gay marriage, I cannot wait until Missouri gets their heads out of their asses and legalizes it, too! C’mon Missouri, let’s do this NOW!!!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 7:41pm
  9. :)

    Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 7:42pm
  10. YES YES YES YES YES!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 7:42pm
  11. Finally my state is doing something!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 8:00pm
  12. GO GET EM!!!!!!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 8:05pm
  13. What about ks

    Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 8:10pm
  14. And then there is Indiana. ; home of Hoosier hate!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 8:25pm
  15. It doesn’t not marriage has always been left to the states when those states are denying rights to people that are guaranteed by the constitution,then the government should have every right to step in.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 8:27pm
  16. Thank you, ACLU!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 8:50pm
  17. GET IT DONE MISSOURI .. Make HUMANS HAPPY!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 9:01pm
  18. Yeah! Please bring this state I live in out of the dark ages!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 9:10pm
  19. They should have been leading this fight all along! This is a violation of civil rights

    Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 9:44pm
  20. To all the congressmen and congresswomen that do not support same-sex marriage, here’s a big fuck you. Please step into the street and get struck by a car.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 9:48pm
  21. YAY!! Do it. I am sick of being embarrassed by this dumb ass state I live in.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 10:16pm
  22. Awesome!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 11:39pm