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Update: Local Officials Given Go Ahead to Issue Marriage Licenses to Same-Sex Couples

Scott Harvey

Update 4:32 p.m.: The first application for a marriage license from a same-sex couple through the Greene County Recorder of Deeds office occurred this afternoon, roughly three hours after officials with the local office were given approval to do so.

By a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court this morning ruled to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states.  

Issuance of those licenses throughout parts of the state were delayed, however, pending the go ahead from the Recorders Association of Missouri (RAM). At noon today, approval was given, and at around 3 p.m., a same-sex couple applied in Greene County, the first to do so.

Credit PROMO
A map from PROMO indicating counties actively issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples as of 4 p.m. Friday.

PROMO, Missouri's statewide organization advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality, has been updating its map of counties that are actively issuing marriage licenses.

As of 4 p.m. Friday, other counties besides Greene included Stone, Polk, McDonald, Jasper, Barton, Ozark, Howell, Texas, Wright, and Laclede counties, among others.

In an email to KSMU, PROMO Board Member Ashley Quinn said she and her wife, Kate, are “elated” by today’s court decision.

“We applaud Governor Nixon and the Missouri Recorder of Deeds Association for expeditiously implementing the court's ruling," she said. " If Missourians find any barriers as they seek to wed or have their marriages recognized, we invite you to communicate with us at PROMO through this website so that we might help to resolve any injustices."

Quinn added that going forward, the organization hopes this momentum will carry through with passage of statewide non-discrimination protections through MONA (Missouri Non-Discrimination Act).  

“The Supreme Court has made it quite clear that treating people differently because they may be gay or lesbian is not in keeping with the Constitution.”

Ashley and Kate Quinn were part of the Barrier v Vasterling case in Missouri which held that marriage licenses issued lawfully out of state must be recognized in the state of Missouri.

Update 1:05 p.m.: The Greene County Recorder of Deeds office tells us it received permission to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples at noon today.

The approval came from the Recorders Association of Missouri.

Original post:

The Recorder of Deeds for Greene County says she’ll wait for the go ahead from the Recorders Association of Missouri (RAM) before her office begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Cheryl Dawson-Spaulding told KSMU Friday morning that she expects a decision sometime today, which comes following a 5-4 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states.  

“All recorders tend to act as a whole,” Dawson-Spaulding said, indicating the likelihood that most Missouri counties will await the association’s approval before moving forward.

Officials with recorders offices in Howell, Jasper and Taney counties also told us they are awaiting a decision from RAM.

PROMO, Missouri's statewide organization advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality, shared the following picture on Instagram this morning.

Go get married! Currently St. Clair, Boone, Sullivan, Atchison, Moniteau, Buchanan, Scottland, Saline, Mercer, Ray, and Franklin County are issuing marriage licenses! Head over to the marriage tracker to keep updated! #Love #LoveWins A photo posted by Promo Missouri (@promomissouri) on Jun 26, 2015 at 9:08am PDT

The high court’s opinion includes more than 100 pages. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority, saying the 14th amendment requires states to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples.

The court has also ruled that states must recognize the legality of gay marriages from other states when couples move.  

“The overwhelming change in public opinion regarding marriage equality is astonishing, even to those of us who have worked on LGBT rights for decades,” said Jeffrey A. Mittman, executive director of the ACLU of Missouri. “Today’s decision makes marriage equality the law of the land. This is a day that will be noted in history books for Missouri’s same-sex couples, and all Americans, who had to wait to obtain a marriage license so they can marry in their home state.”

In a statement, Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon called the decision a major victory for equality.

“No one should be discriminated against because of who they are or who they love.  In the coming days, I will be taking all necessary and appropriate actions to ensure this decision is implemented throughout the state of Missouri,” Nixon said.

Billy Long, a Republican representing Missouri’s 7th District in the U.S. House, called the decision disappointing.

“This decision is troubling as it will overturn voter-imposed state bans on the practice, such as in Missouri.  I believe this decision directly removes and marginalizes the will of the people,” he said.  

Long went on to say he believes the decision deprives states of their Tenth Amendment rights. 

“I join many southwest Missourians in expressing frustration with the Court’s judgment, as it violates the traditional meaning of marriage.”