Most Missouri counties refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – Gay and Lesbian couples celebrating Wednesday`s court decision legalizing same-sex marriage in Missouri are having a hard time getting marriage licenses, because most Missouri counties are refusing to issue them.

Thursday morning, when St. Peters resident Dan Kaatman called the St. Charles County Recorder of Deeds office to ask about getting a marriage license for himself and his partner of almost 15 years, he did not get the response he expected.

‘(They said) you have to go to St. Louis, we are not obligated to issue them,’ Kaatman said.
St. Charles County is not the only county refusing to issue same-sex licenses.

According to the Recorders` Association of Missouri, no Missouri counties other than St. Louis City and St. Louis County are issuing those licenses.

That`s because the association sent an email advising them not to do it, based on their lawyer`s interpretation of the judge`s ruling.

‘The judgment in the St. Louis City case pertains only to the Recorder of Deeds in St. Louis City,’ said Jan Jones, President of the Recorders` Association of Missouri.

The association`s interpretation is based on the final paragraph of the ruling which reads: ‘The City of St. Louis has the authority to issue marriage licenses to any same-sex couple.’

But earlier in the ruling, the judge writes: ‘Any same-sex couple that satisfies all the requirements for marriage under Missouri law is legally entitled to a marriage license.’

The ACLU of Missouri says the ruling clearly applies to every Missouri county.

‘If the opinion were to say this `only` applies to St. Louis that could certainly be a legal statement, but what the decision says is here is what Missouri law means, it is unconstitutional,’ said Jeffrey Mittman, Executive Director of the ACLU of Missouri.

That`s also how St. Louis County sees it, which is why it is going ahead with issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

‘I think until there is a specific legal prohibition, we in St. Louis County believe in making sure people have the rights they are entitled to in this country,’ said Eugene Leung, St. Louis County Director of Revenue.

Dan Kaatman wishes St. Charles county felt the same way.

‘I was very disappointed,’ he said.