ACLU FilesLawsuit Calling for Missouri to Recognize Out-of -State Same Sex Marriages

(AP) – Missouri joined the growing list of states facing legal challenges to their gay marriage bans Wednesday, when the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit seeking to force it to recognize the out-of-state marriages of several same-sex couples.

ACLU of Missouri attorney Toney Rothert said current state law makes gay couples “legal strangers in their home state.” He spoke in St. Louis at one of four news conferences to announce the lawsuit, which was filed in state court in Kansas City.

At around the time ACLU lawyers were discussing their case in Missouri, a federal judge in Kentucky was issuing a ruling striking down part of that state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage and ordering Kentucky to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages. A Louisiana gay rights group also filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday seeking to force that state to recognize out-of-state gay marriages.Q

The Missouri lawsuit stops short of asking the courts to allow gay marriage in the state. Rothert said the ACLU has a “50-state strategy” to push for the legalization of same-sex marriage, but he declined to say if or when legal action will be taken seeking to force Missouri to do so.

Zuleyma Tang-Martinez, a longtime biology professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, said she repeatedly has been denied benefits for her spouse, Arlene Zarembka, because the university abides by Missouri’s legal standard for marriage as being only possible between a man and woman. The couple has been together for 31 years and got married in Canada in 2005

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