Missouri judge allows first same-sex divorce despite state ban on gay marriage

Dena and Samantha Latimer have become the first same-sex couple to legally divorce in Missouri in a landmark ruling despite that state’s ban on recognizing same-sex marriages

Missouri judge allows first same-sex divorce despite state ban on gay marriage
06 May 2014

A Boone County Missouri court has allowed lesbians Dena and Samantha Latimer to end their marriage in a legal first for the state.

The Latimers were married in Massachusetts in 2009 but the relationship broke down so they sought to divorce in their home state of Missouri.

Missourians voted overwhelmingly in favor of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in 2004 which prohibits legal recognition of marriages between people of the same-sex in the state.

However Boone County Circuit Judge Leslie Schneider ruled that while not recognizing their marriage, Missouri did have to recognize the existence of the laws of other states.

For that reason she ruled that Missouri courts can recognize the law of where a marriage was performed ‘for the limited purpose of granting equitable relief.’

Judge Schneider noted that Missouri courts ad dealt with other cases involving marriages that were not legally valid in Missouri such as heterosexual marriages of people who had never sought to obtain marriage licenses.

In light of that Schneider ruled that ‘the court maintains an authority to enter judgment with respect to a marriage that is not legally recognized.’

Schneider also ruled that denying same-sex couples who had married in other states the ability to divorce was in breach of the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution – which guarantees equal protection under the law.

Massachusetts law states that a couple must be living in the state to divorce there so the Latimers would have had to have relocated to Massachusetts in order to get a divorce there.

Missouri courts have previously annulled same-sex marriages performed elsewhere but this is the first time a same-sex couple has been allowed to divorce – ensuring a fair split of their assets and deciding any child custody issues.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

NFL player Chris Kluwe gets hate mail cartoon because he supports gay rights

Comes on the heels of hate letter Minnesota Vikings star got last week
15 must-haves from the Mad Men props auction

15 must-haves from the Mad Men props auction

From Bob Benson's record player to art from Don Draper's apartment, these Sterling Cooper & Partners-related trinkets will make the trip down memory lane that bit more authentic
No thumbnail available

Sydney Police issue warning on criminals luring victims using gay dating websites

Police in Sydney, Australia have warned men who have sex with men to be wary when using online dating websites and apps after a man was allegedly seriously assaulted and robbed by two men who lured him to a hotel room
No thumbnail available

Power Gays: James Wharton – soldier, leader, teacher

British best-known gay soldier, James Wharton, has become a role-model for leadership
No thumbnail available

X Factor judge Tulisa wants kiss with Nicole Scherzinger

British singer wants to lock lips with the Pussycat Doll, and says she wants to marry Irish judge Louis Walsh
No thumbnail available

Historic change as Denmark legalizes gay marriage

Parliament overturned the ban on same-sex marriage 85 to 24, making Denmark the eighth country in Europe with full marriage equality
No thumbnail available

Harry Derbidge lowers drawbridge on new clothes shop

Harry Derbidge, signature gay character from ITV’s The Only Way Is Essex, has opened his latest business venture in Brentwood, Essex
No thumbnail available

What does it take to run the London Marathon?

G-A-Y owner Jeremy Joseph will give a runners’ eye view for first time with his live stream hosted on Gay Star News
No thumbnail available

My dead gay brother helped win me the right to marry

Homeless gay teen Albert Kennedy died after being chased by a homophobic gang 25 years ago but his death has helped change the UK
No thumbnail available