Marriage equality keeps gaining momentum in the most unlikely places. The latest examples are in Missouri, Oklahoma and Idaho, where pressure from the courts is nudging the states that would otherwise seem immovable.
Marriage equality is still banned in Missouri, but that hasn’t stopped a county circuit judge from granting a divorce to a a lesbian couple married in Massachusetts. Dena and Samantha Latimer sought to end their five-year marriage in their home state of Missouri, instead of establishing residency in Massachusetts. Judge Leslie Schneider ruled that Missouri doesn’t have to recognize the marriage, but it does have to recognize the laws of other states. However, Schneider’s ruling is a de facto recognition of the marriage. After all, you can’t dissolve what you don’t recognize. The Latimers’ divorce is the first same-sex divorce in the state, and it allows the couple the same protections for dividing assets and deciding child custody issues as heterosexual couples enjoy.
The ruling comes at a time when state Republicans have finally decided to give up their vainglorious hopes of impeaching Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, chiefly for issuing an executive order allowing same-sex couples to file joint tax returns. State Rep. Nick Marshall complained that Nixon had ignored the state’s ban on marriage equality and had “usurped the people and their authority to determine their constitution and their restraints on government.”