Days before Valentine’s Day, the ACLU of Missouri filed its court case in Kansas City on behalf of eight couples. This lawsuit does not seek a repeal of Missouri’s 2004 ban on marriage for same-sex couples.
“Instead, we are asking Missouri to recognize each couple’s legal out-of-state marriage,” explains Tony Rothert, the ACLU of Missouri’s legal director. “It is as if they are handed involuntary divorces every time they set foot in a state that ignores their marriages. No other right evaporates and reappears depending on the state you are in.”
Back in June, The Vital Voice, a midwestern LGBT news site and magazine, shared the stories of the eight couples suing the state for their civil rights. Below are two of those couples:
Beth Drouant & Julikka LaChe
Married: March 12, 2010 in Iowa City, IA
Together for: 10 years
Location: University City
Occupations: Beth is a teacher and Julikka is a sign-language interpreter.
Beth Drouant and Julikka LaChe married to celebrate their love and commitment for each other. “Marriage is the next logical commitment you can make to your partner in our culture,” Drouant says. “It is a rite of passage into a realm of adulthood as well as a more binding and concrete level of dedication within your relationship.”
What they didn’t anticipate was the stronger bond and deeper level of commitment. “Our friends and family took our relationship more seriously and started to see us as equal and deeply dedicated partners,” she adds.
Even so, Drouant and LaChe have noticed the negative effects of living in a state that doesn’t recognize their union. “As much as you try not to let it affect your life, it does,” LaChe says. “We worry about visitation in the hospital, major health and financial decisions, taxes, insurance, joint property, starting a family and the rights of our children, survivor benefits, retirement, and family leave. We feel an immense burden and stress associated with the lack of benefits and our future financial and overall stability.”
Patricia & Adria Webb
Married: March 12, 2010, in Iowa City, IA
Together for: Six years
Location: St. Louis City
Occupations: Adria is an artist/musician and Patricia is a pharmaceutical product inspector.
The couple is raising a 14-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter (who think it’s really cool that they have a bonus mom!)
Patricia and Adria Webb agreed early in their relationship that marriage was the most faithful of commitments and that it would be the only natural progression for two people who love each other as much as they did.
“I feel a deep sense of sorrow at the injustice of being ignored and forgotten for something so much a part of who I am as a citizen of Missouri,” Patricia Webb says. “I want to spread the great news that I found someone to love for the rest of my life. Welcome us with our equal share of respect and responsibilities.”
All the stories are amazing! Click here to read the rest of them at The Vital Voice.