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.



No thumbnail available

Bruce Jenner gets supportive tweets from Ellen, Rosie, Oprah, Gaga, JLo and Laverne Cox after interview

Matt Bomer, Sam Smith, Boy George, Mario Lopez, Debra Messing, Andy Cohen and Steve Grand also give shout outs
No thumbnail available

Opposition to gay marriage is like racism, says Aboriginal newsreader

Lesbian newsreader Narelda Jacobs has likened opposition to gay marriage to opposition to interracial marriages a generation ago
No thumbnail available

Anti-gay pundit says Connecticut shooting school ‘did not embrace God’

American Family Association's Bryan Fischer says legalizing gay marriage is proof of 'sacrificing the well-being of children'
No thumbnail available

Let’s start from scratch with London’s gay pride

London needs an LGBT pride that's accountable, transparent and meaningful to get over the World Pride shambles of this year, says Stewart Who
No thumbnail available

English Defence League extremists meet regularly in gay bar

A London gay bar claims they are unaware of the anti-Muslim hate group who meet up regularly in gay bars before protests
No thumbnail available

Is Africa on the road to a gay genocide?

As Rwanda reflects on 20 years since the death of a million of its citizens, a tide of anti-LGBTI hate is engulfing Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, DRC, South Africa and beyond
No thumbnail available

North Korea soldiers spotted sharing gay kiss on CCTV

Netizens worry about the safety of the two men
No thumbnail available

True Blood star Stephen Moyer wishes he had a bigger gay following than co-stars

'I may come in fourth behind Joe Manganiello, Alex SkarsgÃ¥rd, and Ryan Kwanten, if I’m really honest'
No thumbnail available

Florida city council denies protections for LGBTs

It will remain legal to fire LGBT people because of their gender identity or sexuality in the largest city in Florida following a vote by the city council and a campaign by anti-gay lobbyists
No thumbnail available