Kansas City officials are taking steps to recognize same-sex marriages from other states.
The city’s Law Department filed a motion Friday opposing the Missouri legislature’s attempt to stop Kansas City from recognizing those marriages. The city is also taking steps to revise its pension plan to include benefits for same-sex spouses.
“The city’s position is we’re in support of gay marriage,” said City Councilman Ed Ford. “We believe both the city and state should give full faith and credit to gay marriages that take place outside of the state.”
Kansas City was a defendant in a lawsuit in which same-sex couples married in other jurisdictions argued that Missouri violated their rights by not recognizing their marriages, and that Kansas City, by following the state’s laws, also violated their rights by not providing the same benefits as to employees in heterosexual marriages.
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On Oct. 3, Jackson County Circuit Judge J. Dale Youngs ordered the state to recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states. That order allowed married gay couples to be eligible to sign up for a range of tax, health insurance, veterans and other benefits now afforded to other married couples.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said he wouldn’t appeal the Kansas City ruling, stating that Missouri’s future should be one of inclusion, not exclusion.
But now Republican leaders in the Missouri General Assembly are seeking to appeal Youngs’ ruling. Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, a St. Charles Republican, and House Speaker Tim Jones, a Eureka Republican, have filed a motion seeking to intervene in the Jackson County case to appeal it to the state Supreme Court.
The City Council discussed that motion in closed session on Thursday and directed the Law Department to file a response. The city’s motion Friday opposed the legislature’s argument to intervene, saying the legislature has no authority to act as a party in the case.
The legal filing notes that city employees have already begun registering for new benefits offered to same-sex spouses. A City Council committee is expected to consider an ordinance this week that revises the city’s pension plan to include pension benefits for same-sex spouses.