Marriage Equality USA

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Lawsuits - Pending

Mooneyham v. Ozark Fire Protection District

Case #: 6:14-cv-3496
Court Level: Federal District Court
Date Filed: 24 November 2014
Date of Appeal: 


  • 24 November 2014, the Missouri chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union announced that it is suing the district for denying spousal benefits. The ACLU sent a letter to the fire district last month explaining its view on the district's requirement to offer benefits. A suit was filed in federal court today arguing for the benefits to be offered. The ACLU referenced an October decision in Jackson County that said the state must recognize same-sex marriages."After the court's decision in Barrier v. Vasterling, Missouri law no longer allows government entities to ignore marriages," said Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri. "Captain (Andi) Mooneyham puts her life on the line at work and should receive the same benefits to other married firefighters and their families."
  • 2 December 2014, plaintiff filed a Motion for preliminary injunction and brief in support of the motion.
  • 6 January 2015, the Ozark Fire Protection District (defendant) filed its Answer to the Complaint.
  • 7 January 2015, the defendants filed their Opposition to Preliminary Injunction.
State of Missouri v. Jennifer Florida (formerly Missouri v. Carpenter aka Koster v. City of St. Louis)

Case #: 1422-CC09027
Court Level: State Trial Court
Date Filed: 26 June 2014
Date of Appeal: 5 November 2014


  • 26 June 2014, after 10th Circuit rulings in marriage equality cases in two other states, the City of St. Louis challenged the MO ban on marriage equality by issuing marriage licenses to four same-sex couples. That same day the state Attorney General filed suit to block further issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
  • The Attorney General filed a motion for a Temporary Restraining Order, but after the City stated that it would cease issuance of further marriage licenses, the court denied the TRO.
  • A status hearing was set for 11 August 2014.
  • 29 September 2014, a hearing was held before St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison. 
  • 5 November 2014, Circuit Judge Rex M. Burlison found the Missouri ban on marriage equality to be unconstitutional, and that " that Defendant and any future Recorder of Deeds and Vital Records Registrar of the City of St. Louis has the authority to issue marriage licenses to any same sex couple that satisfies all the requirements for marriage under Missouri law, other than being of different sexes."
  • 5 November 2014,  MO AG Chris Koster announced that he has appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court, but that he will NOT seek a stay.
Barrier v. Vasterling 

Case #: 1416-CV03892
Court Level: State Trial Court
Date Filed: 12 February 2014
Date of Appeal:


  • The ACLU filed a MO state lawsuit for 8 couples challenging the 2004 ban on recognizing same-gender civil marriages legally performed elsewhere. (Further info on the case and the plaintiffs.)
  • 23 April 2014, a Motion For Summary Judgment was filed.
  • 25 April 2014, defendant filed a motion to change venue (transfer the case).
  • 9 May 2014, petitioner filed a motion to file an amended petition, which was granted on 21 May 2014.
  • 30 May 2014, plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment. Argument is scheduled for 25 September 2014 before Judge J. Dale Youngs in Kansas City, Missouri.
  • 2 June 2014, defendant city answered the amended petition.
  • 10 June 2014, the court denied the motion for change of venue.
  • 25 September 2014, oral arguments took place before Judge J. Dale Youngs.
  • 3 October 2014, Judge Youngs ruled that Missouri must recognize legal same-sex marriages that were performed elsewhere. An injunction staying this decision is currently in place. 
  • 6 October 2014, following the SCOTUS orders (pgs. 39 & 40) issued earlier this day regarding the 7 marriage equality cases that had petitioned the high court for review, the MO AG posted a public statement that he will not appeal the state court decision in Barrier v. Vasterling requiring the state to recognize marriages performed in other jurisdictions. "Missouri's future will be one of inclusion, not exclusion."
  • 26 November 2014, the State of Missouri General Assembly filed a Motion to Intervene.
  • 5 December 2014, the General Assembly filed a Notice of Appeal.
  • 5 December 2014, the plaintiffs filed their Opposition to the GA's Motion to Intervene.
  • 5 December 2014, the defendant City of Kansas City also filed an Opposition to the Intervention.
  • 9 December 2014, the Court denied the motion to intervene based on lack of jurisdiction. 
Kerry Messer, et al. v. MO Governor Jeremiah Nixon, et al.

Case #: 14AC-CC00009
Court Level: State Trial Court
Date Filed: 9 January 2014
Date of Appeal:


  • The MO Family Baptist Convention Christian Life Commission and the MO Family Policy Council sued to stop MO from accepting tax returns from same-gender couples with legal civil marriages who file joint federal and MO returns, because the plaintiffs claim that they are already suffering “immediate and irreparable damage.”
  • 9 January 2014, a Petition for Declaratory Judgment was filed.
  • 7 February 2014, amended motion/petition filed.
  • 26 March 2014, motion filed for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction.
  • 3 April 2014, hearing held. and
  • 4 April 2014, TRO denied.
  • 4 June 2014, hearing on PROMO’s motion to intervene held.
  • 9 June 2014, order filed denying intervention, but leaving open alternative motion or amicus possibility. Further hearing was scheduled for 27 June 2014.
  • Next hearing was scheduled for 20 August 2014.
In re Marriage of M.S. and D.S.

Case #:
Court Level: Missouri Supreme Court
Date Filed:
Date of Appeal: 13 March 2014


  • Divorce action filed by couple married in Iowa.
  • Dismissed in trial court.
  • Direct appeal to Missouri Supreme Court filed on 13 March 2014.
  • The ACLU of Missouri has filed an amicus brief.
  • 3 December 2014, Missouri Supreme Court hears arguments over gay divorce - By Rudi Keller, Columbia Daily Tribune
  • Additional information about the case, including briefs filed and an archive of the audio when complete, is available here:
  • 10 February 2015, in this case, the trial court had dismissed the divorce petition for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. In today's opinion, the Missouri Supreme Court says the lower court does have authority to hear the case and returns it to the lower court (on purely procedural grounds) for further proceedings, without reaching the underlying issues.
    "The sole issue before this Court is whether the circuit court had subject matter jurisdiction. ... Assuming for the sake of argument only that the circuit court lacked constitutional or statutory authority to grant the requested relief, the court would still have subject matter jurisdiction to dispose of the petition by denying the requested relief. While the circuit court had subject matter jurisdiction over this civil case, this Court expresses no opinion as to the merits of any aspect of this case, including the constitutional or statutory authority of the circuit court to dissolve a same-sex marriage. The judgment is reversed, and the case is remanded."

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