Gay marriage in Missouri is moving in fits and starts, allowed in just three areas and refused in others.
Attorney General Chris Koster has yet to appeal the federal court decision striking down the state’s same-sex marriage ban. Koster has said he plans to appeal but has yet to do so. He has until Dec. 10.
“Such a challenge to Missouri’s historically-recognized right to define marriage deserves review by a higher court,” Koster’s spokesman, Eric Slusher, wrote in an email on Monday.
That’s in contrast to Friday, when the state took “no position” in response to a motion by the ACLU of Missouri. The ACLU’s Tony Rothert asked U.S. District Judge Ortrie Smith to lift his temporary hold on his order overturning the ban.
Also Monday, Rothert sued the Ozark Fire Protection District for refusing spousal benefits to Andrea “Andi” Mooneyham, a captain for the fire district in Ozark, Mo., who was married to her lesbian partner in another state. Denial of those benefits violates Mooneyham’s constitutional rights under an October decision by a judge in Kansas City, Rothert said.
The ACLU believed there would be some counties that would resist implementing recent court decisions, Rothert said, so it is doing “cleanup work.”
“We know how this story ends,” Rothert said. “We’re putting the finishing touches on making sure that these great court decisions for equality apply to every person in the state.”
Gay marriage licenses are being issued in Jackson County (Kansas City), St. Louis County and St. Louis City, said Kyle Piccola of PROMO Missouri, a marriage rights advocacy group. But the group is urging people to get married the same day they get their license, he said.
“We want people to understand that their marriage is not officially recognized by the state until after it’s been officiated and filed with the recorder of deeds office,” Piccola said.
The situation is similar in Kansas, where Gov. Sam Brownback has refused to recognize same-sex marriages despite recent court rulings.