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BREAKING: Missouri judge rules state must recognize legal same-sex marriages performed elsewhere

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Missouri state sealThe ACLU of Missouri reports on its Facebook page that a state judge has struck down Missouri’s ban on recognizing same-sex marriages performed outside the state.

Arguments in the case were heard late last month.

The decision can be read here.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. Steve27516  |  October 3, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Hooray! It feels good to have yet another "win". It seems like it has been a while since we had one, but that's only because there was such an incredible barrage of victories earlier in this year.

    Does anyone know if this matter is likely to be appealed?

  • 2. DaveM_OH  |  October 3, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    Ah, footnote #4.

  • 3. Ragavendran  |  October 3, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    "Go figure!" 🙂

  • 4. RnL2008  |  October 3, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Another win, but another Stay will delay the State from having to actually do something, all while complaining how UNFAIR it is that they CAN'T keep using the status quo!!!

  • 5. Ragavendran  |  October 3, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Is there a stay yet? I didn't get that from the linked opinion and order.

  • 6. RnL2008  |  October 3, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    When will the 6th and 9th CA's post their rulings?? Any idea anyone???

  • 7. bythesea66  |  October 3, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    "Soon Soon!"

  • 8. RnL2008  |  October 3, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    I won't hold my breath……lol!!!

  • 9. jpmassar  |  October 3, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    C.f. Godot

  • 10. hopalongcassidy  |  October 3, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    We might get Lucky………….

  • 11. hopalongcassidy  |  October 3, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    On the 6th and the 9th!

  • 12. Waxr  |  October 3, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    They may be waiting to see if the Supreme Court takes up the ME issue. It would look bad if they made a decision, and the Justices shot it down the next day.

  • 13. RnL2008  |  October 3, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    Well, then we can be waiting an a very long time, because I think SCOTUS is waiting on the 9th and the 6th and the 6th and the 9th are waiting on SCOTUS……..ummm, waiting…..waiting…..soon…….really soon…….ummm, not!

  • 14. RQO  |  October 3, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    Conservative circular firing squad.

  • 15. Waxr  |  October 3, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    We should hear something from SCOTUS Monday.

  • 16. ragefirewolf  |  October 3, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    Hmm, that's what we said last week. I'm not holding my breath.

  • 17. RobW303  |  October 3, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    "Next day"—ha, ha, you kill me; pull the other one.

  • 18. KACinSTL  |  October 3, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Short and sweet, found in violation of the 14th amendment, and unfortunately will most likely be stayed after an appeal.

  • 19. davepCA  |  October 3, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    It's worth noting that until just a very short time ago, just about ANY favorable ruling for LGBTs from a place like Missouri would have been considered absolutely incredible. Now it seems like just another check mark added to the already huge list in the 'win' column. A very good thing, but not so remarkable.

    Things are changing. And they are changing VERY quickly.

  • 20. RnL2008  |  October 3, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    I totally agree with ya Dave:-)

  • 21. sfbob  |  October 3, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    The ruling is remarkable for being as blunt as it is. One thing that simplifies the ruling is that Missouri is among those states that ALWAYS recognized marriages legally performed in other states even if the state itself didn't permit them. It then made a sole exception: gay and lesbian couples. It would be very difficult under those circumstances to argue that a state which does not permit common-law or first cousin marriages or marriages involving persons the state considers to be minors yet would recognize those very same marriages if the couples moved to the state from somewhere else would have some legitimate reason for refusing to recognize a marriage involving two legal-age adults who aren't related by blood and have an actual marriage certificate issued elsewhere.

  • 22. micha1976  |  October 3, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    Isn't kind of amazing that the court outright rejects the 8th Circuit decision of Bruning as "not persuasive"? It was a state court, so the 8th Circuit is not technically above it, but it's still the proper Circuit for Missouri…

  • 23. sfbob  |  October 3, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Remarkable and yet unsurprising. Bruning rested on "responsible procreation" as a rational basis to ban marriage equality. Judge Younger noted that the argument had been rejected repeatedly since then.

  • 24. Ragavendran  |  October 3, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Meanwhile, in Arkansas, a retired judge has been appointed by the Governor as a special justice to sit in the place of Justice Hoofman who recused himself. Here is an article about this retired judge I dug up when he retired. He seems like a nice guy.

  • 25. Zack12  |  October 3, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Good then maybe we will get a favorable ruling after all.

  • 26. guitaristbl  |  October 4, 2014 at 6:24 am

    The Arkansas SC has been surpisingly nice to LGBT rights (see for example their 2011 ruling on adoption in Arkansas Department of Human Services v. Cole) so I would say that there is a chance to prevail there. It will take some time though.

  • 27. ragefirewolf  |  October 3, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    Okay, I read the Missouri ruling and I'm not understanding exactly what the judge denied to the plaintiffs in part from their summary judgment request: See footnote #5. Any clarity, my legal eagles?

  • 28. KACinSTL  |  October 3, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    Maybe they wanted a free dinner and movie after it was over. I read it twice and found nothing about what could have been denied. Not exactly legal eagle but the best I could come up with

  • 29. ebohlman  |  October 4, 2014 at 1:23 am

    I'm guessing it was declaratory relief on due process grounds and on equal protection grounds involving gender; the plaintiffs requested both but Younger found it unnecessary to consider them.

  • 30. JayJonson  |  October 4, 2014 at 6:14 am

    Yes. The plaintiffs said that they were discriminated against on the basis of sex (which would require at least intermediate scrutiny) as well as on the basis of sexual orientation. The Judge said he did not need to rule on that question because the ban failed on the basis of the most deferential review.

  • 31. ragefirewolf  |  October 4, 2014 at 8:03 am

    Thank you both for clarifying 🙂

  • 32. guitaristbl  |  October 4, 2014 at 6:07 am

    Very nice ! It's the 41st victory in courts since Windsor. The opinion is nicely written as well and the inclusion of three elements : a) Stating that the 8th circuit decision against ME are "not persuasive" in light of Windsor b) Rejecting Baker as binding precedent on the same 'doctrinal developments" grounds other courts did before and c) inclusion of Judge Posner's best quote from the 7th circ. decision only makes it better.

    Now if we go back to the practical realities here : a) A stay is not issued yet but I believe it will and b) Is this going directly to the Missouri SC or to a state appeals court ? What do we know about the Missouri Supreme Court ? Is there any chance even just for the recognition question to prevail there ? What's this Glossip decision the judge regularly quotes ? Seems like a Missouri SC decision that includes wording very promising for this case..

    The matter is far from over but it's another small step forward. Still both states in the 8th circuit that had pro equality decision handed down, had them in state court. Which still leaves the 8th circuit as the only one (with a state in its juristiction without ME) without a case before it. I hope one comes soon. Missouri and Arkansas both have federal cases that may be decided sooner than those in the Dakotas I think. We'll see.

  • 33. JayJonson  |  October 4, 2014 at 6:24 am

    A year ago the Missouri Supreme Court handed down a shockingly bad decision in a case involving the partner of a state trooper who was killed on duty. When the partner, Kelly Glossip, was denied survivor benefits by the state, he sued.

    In a 5-2 opinion, written by Chief Justice Mary Rhodes Russell, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that "Glossip was denied survivor benefits because he and the patrolman were not married, not because of his sexual orientation. If Glossip and the patrolman had been of different sexes, Glossip would have still been denied benefits no matter how long or close their relationship had been. The result cannot be any different here simply because Glossip and the patrolman were of the same sex. The statute discriminates solely on the basis of marital status, not sexual orientation."

    While the decision acknowledged that Missouri prohibits same-sex marriage and therefore Glossip and Engelhard could not marry, it evaded the real issue by saying that "the benefits statutes that Glossip challenges do not prohibit same-sex marriage. That ban is in Missouri's constitution, and Glossip expressly does not challenge it. Accordingly, he cannot use that ban as support for his challenge to the benefits statutes, which discriminate on the basis of marital status."

    Significantly, however, the majority said that they were not ruling on sexual orientation or marriage rights. Glossip could have challenged Missouri's constitutional provision that precluded him and the patrolman from marrying in Missouri, but since he did not they refused to go there.

    "The only decision the Court makes here," the majority wrote, "has nothing to do with the rights of same-sex partners. Instead, the Court merely upholds the General Assembly's right to award and deny survivor benefits based on whether the claimant was married to the patrolman at the time of death."

    In contrast, the dissenting opinion, written by former Chief Justice Richard B. Teilman and joined by Judge George W. Draper, directly confronted the question of equal protection.

    It begins, "For decades, indeed centuries, gay men and lesbians have been subjected to persistent, unyielding discrimination, both socially and legally. That shameful history continues to this day. The statutes at issue in this case, sections 104.140.3 and 104.012, RSMo Supp. 2001, bear witness to that history and help ensure that this unfortunate past remains a prologue to the continued state-sanctioned marginalization of our fellow citizens. The plain meaning and intended application of sections 104.140.3 and 104.012 is to specifically discriminate against gay men and lesbians by categorically denying them crucial state benefits when their partner dies in the line of duty. This type of intentional, invidious and specifically targeted discrimination is fundamentally inconsistent with the constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law."

    It will be interesting to see what the majority does when confronted with a head-on challenge to the marriage ban. Were they just being disingenuous when they said the survivor was not being discriminated against?

    See more at

  • 34. guitaristbl  |  October 4, 2014 at 6:35 am

    Thanks a lot for the details ! Given the current composition of this court, 5 judges appointed by democratic governors, 2 by a republican governor, I can say that we can hope (not that the ideology of the governor who made the appointment always precludes the judges disposition on such issues, especially in red states like Missouri…). The dissenting judges are still active, thus we already have 2 votes in our favour I think. All that's needed is 2 more and I believe we might get them.

    Also given the following :

    "Missouri voters have approved changes in the state's constitution to give the Supreme Court exclusive jurisdiction- the sole legal power to hear – five types of cases on appeal. Pursuant to Article V, Section 3 of the Missouri Constitution, these cases involve:

    1) The validity of a United States statute or treaty.
    2) The validity of a Missouri statute or constitutional provision.
    3) The state's revenue laws.
    4) Challenges to a statewide elected official's right to hold office.
    5) Imposition of the death penalty.
    Unless their case involves one of those five issues, people who want a trial court's decision reviewed must appeal to the Missouri Court of Appeals. Most of these cases involve routine legal questions and end there.

    I believe the case goes directly to the Missouri Supreme Court and given that I do not believe these specific issues present a lot of cases before that court, a hearing and a decision may come sooner than later.

    The decision itself in Glossip is not that its bad, it's just a very cowardish one, staying away from the issue based on some silly procedural basis imo. They will have to face it though this time around.

  • 35. Jen_in_MI  |  October 4, 2014 at 6:54 am

    Kind of similar to SCOTUS punting on Hollingsworth, by using the distraction of standing issues to avoid reaching the merits. Next time they will bloody well have to nut up and face the merits question(s).

  • 36. ebohlman  |  October 4, 2014 at 8:17 am

    I'm still convinced that the main reason for granting cert on Hollingsworth was to resolve the standing issues left open by Arizonans for Official English. It would have been a pretty poor choice for resolving the merits of ME because it was such a narrow decision, restricted to addressing a California-specific issue that would be extremely unlikely to present itself in the future elsewhere.

    Glossip reminds me of Judge Friedman's seeming-peculiar decision in the early stages of De Boer to "suggest" that the plaintiffs add a challenge to MI's marriage ban to their case, which was initially only about adoption rights. My reading of it (and I vaguely remember Friedman outright saying as much) is that he would have had no choice but to rule that they didn't have a case for adoption as long as the marriage ban was in place, based on similar considerations to Glossip (though as I remember this was actually before Glossip.was decided).

  • 37. JayJonson  |  October 4, 2014 at 8:31 am

    I think the difference between Friedman and the Glossip judges is that Friedman was trying to be helpful, while the Glossip majority was seeking a way not to rule on the crucial issues. Their ruling was a classic example of circular reasoning.

  • 38. brooklyn11217  |  October 4, 2014 at 7:49 am

    While I was disappointed that SCOTUS punted on Hollingsworth, it has turned out to help our cause in Oregon and Pennsylvania. Let's hope for a final resolution in our favor soon!

  • 39. guitaristbl  |  October 4, 2014 at 8:54 am

    And Nevada soon. Hollingsworth has set a good precedent actually. If state officials refuse to defend the ban, it most certainly goes out of the window. Another good reason to vote democrat.

  • 40. Ragavendran  |  October 4, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    A little bit of Louisiana history that I came across today: four out of the seven justices that are currently sitting on the Louisiana Supreme Court were also involved in the unanimous ruling by the Court in 2005, upholding a portion of the (then just passed) constitutional marriage ban. Here is an old article on that subject.

  • 41. guitaristbl  |  October 5, 2014 at 8:37 am

    I don't think anyone has much of a hope on this one…Every 5th circuit state won't get ME either in higher federal or state court, it will take SCOTUS to get it in Texas, Louisiana or Mississipi. I have much higher hopes for the Arkansas and Missouri Supreme Courts, compared to the ones in Louisiana or Texas.

    We have to note thought that the amendment was re instated on technical grounds, the same way it was struck down (with the "covering only one subject thing"), as it happened in Georgia I think. Not that it means much but anyway…

  • 42. JayJonson  |  October 5, 2014 at 7:47 am

    I came across this Linda Greenhouse article that was published in the NYT on October 1. It doesn't address marriage equality at all, but it gives a good analysis of some of the workings of SCOTUS and, in particular, of Chief Justice Roberts.

    Greenhouse doesn't mention it at all, but I find it interesting that for all of Roberts' power as Chief Justice, his dissent in Windsor has had no traction at all. The district and circuit court judges have had a lot of fun trolling Scalia's dissent and, indeed, following it to its logical conclusion by striking down state same-sex marriage bans. In contrast, Roberts' attempt to reframe Windsor as a very limited decision based entirely on federalism has been dutifully parroted by the attorneys for the states and ADF etc., but has been mostly ignored by the judges (except Feldman and the few dissenters). Not sure what this means, but it is interesting that the Chief Justice is given so little deference on this issue.

  • 43. guitaristbl  |  October 5, 2014 at 8:42 am

    Roberts lacks spine as a judge imo. He comes off as pretty opportunistic to me, he cares A LOT about his legacy and the legacy of his court. I remember reading about the intense backstage that occured when the mandate of ACA was at court, which led at Roberts eventually joining the liberals upholding it. He reads the news, he reads critiques, he generally cares about what others have to say about the decisions of the court, maybe more than he cares about constitutional principles.
    Scalia may be an extremist on court but he will do what he will do, without caring about his legacy to the least (and its not going to be a good one I am sure). Roberts is at many occasions a judge who goes where the wind blows.

  • 44. Zack12  |  October 5, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    I think it's twofold.
    I don't think a lot of judges respect Roberts because he's a partsian hack, same with Scalia who has for years enjoyed taunting and mocking other judges.
    This is them throwing his own words back in his face.

  • 45. brandall  |  October 5, 2014 at 9:23 am

    This mornings Washington Post:

    "Paul D. Clement, who defended DOMA on behalf of the House GOP leadership, said lower courts reading Windsor concluded that “it’s hard to count to five votes for upholding these laws.”

    "Court experts say the justices will probably take time to decide which case — or cases — to accept. They could even wait until January to act and still have time for briefing, oral arguments and a decision by the end of June, when the new term ends."

    More opinions SCOTUS is following the "high drama tradition"….June.

  • 46. JayJonson  |  October 5, 2014 at 9:55 am

    "It 'depends on what Justice Kennedy decides to do,' said Irving L. Gornstein, director of the Georgetown Law Center’s Supreme Court Institute. 'I agree with the conventional wisdom that the justice’s legacy consists of his [gay rights] decisions . . . and that he will be prepared to take the final step.'"

  • 47. DaveM_OH  |  October 6, 2014 at 6:00 am

    30 minutes to Orders

  • 48. brooklyn11217  |  October 6, 2014 at 6:31 am

    Here we go….refreshing twitter and various sites, but no news yet…

  • 49. DaveM_OH  |  October 6, 2014 at 6:35 am

    SCOTUSblog ‏@SCOTUSblog 1m1 minute ago
    No new grants from #SCOTUS this am.

    Chris Geidner ‏@chrisgeidner 3m3 minutes ago
    #SCOTUS took no action today – i.e., no cert denials – with regards to any of the various same-sex marriage cases pending before the court.

  • 50. JayJonson  |  October 6, 2014 at 6:38 am

    Thanks for the report.

  • 51. DaveM_OH  |  October 6, 2014 at 6:46 am

    Wolf, CERT DENIED.
    Bostic, CERT DENIED.
    Bishop, CERT DENIED.
    Bogan, CERT DENIED.
    Kitchen, CERT DENIED.

  • 52. AndresM11  |  October 6, 2014 at 7:10 am

    OMG I'm so happy!!!!! I couldn't believe with my eyes were seeing!! All the petitions for cert were denied!! Thank you SCOTUS, this is a historic day for our community!!!

  • 53. brooklyn11217  |  October 6, 2014 at 6:46 am

    No, first reports seem to have been wrong…seems like cert denied to all.

  • 54. DaveM_OH  |  October 6, 2014 at 6:47 am


  • 55. brooklyn11217  |  October 6, 2014 at 6:51 am

    Which page???

  • 56. DaveM_OH  |  October 6, 2014 at 6:54 am

    Bostic, p. 39
    Kitchen, p. 39
    Bishop, p. 39
    Wolf, p. 40
    Bogan, p. 40

  • 57. SethInMaryland  |  October 6, 2014 at 6:49 am


  • 58. EricKoszyk  |  October 6, 2014 at 6:54 am

    Wait! What exactly does that mean to all these cases? Do they stand? When would they take effect?

  • 59. SethInMaryland  |  October 6, 2014 at 6:58 am

    yea these rulings now will take part soon as possible

  • 60. SethInMaryland  |  October 6, 2014 at 6:52 am

    cnn just confirmed all of these cases are denied

  • 61. SethInMaryland  |  October 6, 2014 at 6:55 am

    marriage equality map is going to be huge if that mean the rulings go into effect now
    infact ourside should file briefs to lift the stay like RIGHT NOW

  • 62. JayJonson  |  October 6, 2014 at 6:57 am

    I was listening to MSNBC where Pete Williams said that the Court had denied cert to the marriage cases. I told my husband, "Damn, Pete Williams should know better. I just read that the Court did nothing." But he was so certain, I came back here and found that he was right after all!

    Congratulations to the couples in Utah, Virginia, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin. And many thanks again to the judges who did the right thing in those cases, and to the attorneys and plaintiffs on our side!

  • 63. DaveM_OH  |  October 6, 2014 at 7:01 am

    Yeah, the Twitstream became confusing, especially with people who have gotten it wrong in the past getting it right, and the people who ~always get it right, getting it wrong!
    But anyway, hooray!

  • 64. Zack12  |  October 6, 2014 at 7:05 am

    I certainly did NOT seeing this coming.
    That marriage equality map just got a whole lot bigger.

  • 65. tushargoyal357  |  October 15, 2014 at 2:52 pm

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  • 66. Equality On TrialMissouri&hellip  |  November 5, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    […] no stay of the ruling. A judge had earlier ruled that Missouri must recognize same-sex marriages performed outside of the state. That decision was […]

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