Frequently Asked Questions: Marriage Recognition in Missouri

***Update June 26, 2015: Marriage equality is the LAW of the LAND thanks to the Supreme Court. For a list of counties issuing marriage licenses in Missouri click here. If you have been discriminated against as a married couple please fill out this form

**Update March 13, 2015: If you have further questions about birth certificates please email promo@promoonline.org. Thank you.

**Update December 22, 2014: Department of Health and Senior Services put this message out: On October 3, 2014, the Jackson County Circuit Court issued an order in Barrier v. Vasterling, Case No. 1416-CV03892, holding that Missouri must recognize marriages lawfully entered into in jurisdictions where same-sex marriage is lawful.  On Monday, October 6, 2014, the Missouri Attorney General announced that the state would not appeal the ruling.  Accordingly, women in same-sex marriages lawfully entered into in jurisdictions where same-sex marriage is lawful, who give birth in Missouri, may choose to have their spouse listed as the baby’s other parent on the birth certificate.​

**Update December 8, 2014: Attorney General Chris Koster appealed the federal marriage decision on December 5, 2014 to the 8th Circuit Court. Marriage licenses in St. Louis City, County, and Jackson County are still happening at this point and all marriage certificates received from these counties are still recognized. Stay tuned for more updates.

**Update November 5, 2014: St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and Jackson County are issuing marriage licenses based on a decision by Judge Rex Burlison stating that the Missouri marriage ban is unconstitutional. If you receive a license it is good for 30 days and your marriage can be performed anywhere in missouri and recognized.

**Update October 27, 2014: VA and SSA Benefits have now been extended for legally married Missouri couples. The benefits included social security benefits for surviving spouses and VA home loans for married couples.​ You can read more about this exciting news here. Also, MOSERS is now applying equal benefits to ALL legally married Missouri couples. Check it out here.

*Update October 9: License offices have been notified by the MODOR to accept valid marriages as approved documentation for a name change. Also, spouses of same-sex Missouri couples will be able to get state health insurance and get survivor benefits from the state retirement system, read more here.

On October 3, 2014, a Missouri Judge ruled that Missouri must recognize valid same-sex marriages performed outside of Missouri just as it recognized other valid marriages from other jurisdictions, taking us one step closer to marriage equality in Missouri.

Governor Nixon’s administration is moving forward with implementation of the ruling to recognize the marriages of legally married same-sex couples in Missouri. We commend the Governor and his administration for working to implement the ruling as broadly and quickly as possible across government agencies, and we understand that this is a complex process.

Please note that each agency might not have the guidance yet to address your specific question. In the meantime, please check out this page regularly for updated FAQs. If you encounter an issue with a specific department or agency, or have a question not addressed here, please contact PROMO at 314-862-4900 or fill out this form: http://bit.ly/1vOAonG

As a community, we want to work with the Governor's administration to make sure the ruling is implemented as fully, smoothly and quickly as possible for all legally married couples.

Can I apply for a Marriage License in Missouri now? 

Yes, in three counties (Jackson, St. Louis County, and St. Louis City). If Attorney General Chris Koster does NOT appeal the federal marriage decision then the ban will be lifted. 

I was married to my partner legally outside of Missouri, is my marriage recognized in Missouri?
Yes, the court, in Barrier v Vasterling, ruled that it violates the right to equal protection under law for the state not to recognize all marriages validly performed outside Missouri.

Where can I get married legally outside of Missouri?
California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia. Marriages in Idaho, while now legal, are on hold. In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to leave intact rulings from the 4th 7th, and 10th Circuit Court of Appeals finding gay marriage bans unconstitutional may void additional marriage bans in states within those circuits, but it is not clear when those states would begin entering marriage licenses. 

If I get married in one of the states listed above will it be recognized in Missouri? What do I have to show as proof?

Yes. In the Barrier case, the court ruled that the state must recognize all marriages validly performed in other states. In essence, it means that legally married same sex couples are to be treated the same as all other legally married couples. In many cases, that won’t require specific proof. Where proof of valid marriage is required, all you need is your marriage license from a legally recognized state.

 Same sex couples should not be required to provide any additional proof than heterosexual couples.

Can my partner be on my health insurance now if I am legally married ?

To the extent that benefits are provided for all legally married people, same sex legally married couples should be treated the same as their heterosexual counterparts. In some cases you may need to wait until an open enrollment period, but you should check with your employer about its plans to implement benefits in the wake of the court decision. We want to hear about your experiences. If you reach out to your employer and are denied please fill out this form, http://bit.ly/1vOAonG, and/or contact the ACLU of Missouri at 314-652-3111.

We are having a baby and are legally married. Can we both be on the birth certificate?

The Barrier ruling provides that Missouri must recognize married same sex couples in the same way as it does other married couples. As a general matter, unless parentage is legally challenged, Missouri law provides that the spouse of a birth mother be listed as parent on a birth certificate as legal parents of a new child. For couples adopting together, both of the parents' names will generally be listed on the birth certificate. For married couples working with surrogates, a legal process may be required to transfer parental rights from the surrogate to the parents. You should contact an attorney specializing in family law regarding specific questions about parenting and custody.

***Update on December 19, 2014: We know that there have been issues in regards to couples being denied having both names on a birth certificate. We are continuing to work with Governor Nixon and the Department of Health and Senior Services on updates from the Barrier case. 
If you feel you have been discriminated against as a same sex married couple please call 314-862-4900 or fill out this form: http://bit.ly/1vOAonG

What steps should we take (if any) to inform our employers about an existing marriage that is now legal? 

You should check with your HR department to confirm what information they need (and on what timeline) regarding your change in legal status in order to ensure proper benefit coverage. This should be the same policy as for employees in opposite-sex marriages who have a change in their legal relationship status.

It may be beneficial to inform your HR department of your marriage for a number of reasons: First, your spouse may be entitled to additional benefits that have not been available before, such as reimbursement for a spouse’s uninsured medical expenses. In addition, your employer may permit you to increase your flexible spending account contributions. Second, some benefits - like medical and dental insurance coverage - may be provided tax-free. Third, under your employer’s retirement plan, benefits paid upon your death may be required to be paid to your surviving spouse (unless you name another beneficiary with your same-sex spouse’s written consent).

If I am legally married can I change my last name and how do I do it?

You can change your last name by bringing in your marriage certificate to do it to the Department of Revenue local office. If you are denied these benefits please fill out a claim here and explain your situation: http://bit.ly/1vOAonG.

 However, you may also be able to change your name even if you are not legally married through a name change petition with your county court.

Can I check the box “married” if I have been legally married?


How do I file taxes if I am legally married?

The Missouri and Federal return can be filed as either married filing jointly or married filing separately.

 For specific questions about your tax situation, you should consult a tax expert.

When will the full ban be overturned and we can get married in Missouri?

We know, by the sweep of marriage equality across the nation and the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on October 6, 2014 not to consider lower court rulings finding same sex marriage bans to be unconstitutional, that the tide of marriage bans will soon likely be coming to an end across the U.S., and in Missouri. There are currently two cases in court seeking to allow same sex marriage licenses in Missouri. We will not stop fighting until there is full marriage equality on our home soil.

We want to hear about your experiences to ensure your marriage is recognized – please tell us your experience with your employer or a state angency here: http://bit.ly/1vOAonG.  Any other questions you have please call 314-862-4900 or let us know here: http://bit.ly/1vOAonG

If you feel you have been discriminated against as a same sex married couple please call 314-862-4900 or fill out this form: http://bit.ly/1vOAonG

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