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Missouri Same Sex Marriage Laws

Same sex marriage has a long and windy history in this country. Up until 2003, marriage between members of the same sex  was illegal in all 50 states. Then Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same sex marriage. From there, our country took an even bigger leap towards marriage equality when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that under the Fourteenth Amendment, states must license a marriage between two people of the same sex, and must also recognize lawfully licensed same sex unions performed out-of-state. Indeed, same sex marriage is currently legal in Missouri, thereby granting same sex couples the same rights, responsibilities, and protections under the laws, as with opposite sex couples. Below you will find more information about Missouri same sex marriage laws.

Recent Challenges: Religious Freedom Acts

Although same sex marriage is the law of the land in the U.S., lawmakers throughout the country have tried several courses of action to diminish or obliterate protections for LGBT persons who choose to get married. As of late, a religious freedom act bill is being contemplated in Missouri, which would allows religious groups and businesses to refuse to facilitate same-sex weddings. These laws would allow businesses and religious organizations to deny services on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs, which would include, in many cases, same sex nuptials.

Missouri Same Sex Marriage Laws Overview

Specifics of Missouri’s same sex marriage laws are listed in the following table. Note, if you believe you have been the victim of discriminatory marriage practices based on “religious freedom laws,” you may wish to speak with an attorney.


·         Missouri Code Section 451.101, et seq. (Marriage laws)

·         Missouri Code Section 451.250, et. seq. (Rights of Married Persons)

Requirements for Same Sex Couples to Marry

  • Both parties must apply for a marriage license
  • Both parties must be at least 18 years old.
  • Both parties cannot be married already and may not be related by blood, through and including first cousins.
  • The license must be picked up prior to the marriage ceremony. The person performing the ceremony must have the license prior to the ceremony.
  • The person performing the marriage ceremony shall return the license to the issuing Recorder of Deeds within 15 days.
  • If a marriage ceremony does not occur, the license shall be void after thirty days from the date of issuance.

Where to Apply for a Marriage License

  • County Recorder’s office

Was there a Marriage Ban in Place Prior to Supreme Court Ruling?

  • Yes, Missouri had a Constitutional Amendment in place outlawing same sex marriage, but that has since been invalidated by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

If you have additional questions about Missouri same sex marriage laws, click on the following links below:

Missouri Same Sex Marriage Laws Related Resources

Questions About Missouri Same Sex Marriage Laws? Speak with a Lawyer

If you and your partner are thinking of taking the next step of marriage, you’ll want to understand Missouri’s laws and any new developments regarding religious freedom acts. The best way to do this is to speak with a skilled family law attorney in Missouri. A legal professional can help you understand your rights and obligations under Missouri same sex marriage laws.

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