Couples sue Missouri to recognize their same-sex marriage

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ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - Eight same-sex Missouri couples who were married in other states are suing the state of Missouri, trying to force the state to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

In 2004, Missouri voters overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. That means Missouri refuses to recognize marriages performed in states where gay marriage is legal.

While this lawsuit does not directly seek to overturn Missouri’s ban on same-sex marriages; that could be one of the results if state courts rule in favor of the couples.

One of the plaintiffs is an UMSL professor who was denied spousal benefits, despite having been married in Canada in 2005.

Zuleyma Tang-Martinez, UMSL Professor, Lawsuit Plaintiff: Despite the fact that Arlene and I have been partners for 31 years and have been married for almost nine years, the university has refused to add Arlene to my benefits.

Tony Rothert, ACLU Attorney: The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of Missouri laws that deny recognition to lawful marriages of same-sex couples. Like other couples who've made a life-long commitment to each other, the plaintiff couples are already married, but they're treated as legal strangers in their home state of Missouri.  

Missouri's attorney general Chris Koster, says he will defend the law barring same-sex marriage.

This comes as a federal judge Wednesday ordered the state of Kentucky to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.