ACLU of Missouri has a long history of working to expand LGBT protections in the courts, at the legislature and through public education. The following are just a few of the initiatives the ACLU of Missouri has spearheaded in the fight for LGBT equality.
In Barrier v. Vasterling, the ACLU asked the state of Missouri to recognize the marriages of twelve same-sex couples who were wed outside the state. Missouri Circuit Judge J. Dale Youngs issued his order on October 3, 2014 that out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples must be recognized throughout the State of Missouri. The State did not appeal.
In Lawson v. Jackson County the ACLU filed a petition on behalf of two couples who were denied marriage licenses in Kansas City, Missouri. On November 7, 2014, Judge Ortrie D. Smith ruled that same-sex couples can obtain marriage licenses. This judgment struck down Missouri’s 2004 constitutional amendment that excluded gay men and lesbians from marriage. It was a win for full marriage equality. Missouri appealed the decision.
On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that state marriage bans violate the due process and equal protection provisions of the U.S. Constitution. The right of same-sex partners to be legally wed in Missouri and across the country has finally been won. As a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling, the state of Missouri withdrew its appeal in Lawson v. Jackson County.
Safe Schools for All Students
The ACLU of Missouri demanded that MOREnet, a group that provides Internet access and filtering software to 100 school districts statewide, stop their illegal censorship of websites. MOREnet confirmed it would no longer activate a feature on its software that blocked non-sexual content that takes a favorable view toward LGBT communities. Camdenton R-III School District ignored similar warnings. So, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the school district and won in 2012. Students are now free to search for resources for their gay-straight alliances, seek support against bullying and research history as it pertains to LGBT people.
We are working with PROMO to garner support from businesses and legislators for the Missouri Non-Discrimination Act (MONA), which would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace. In some circumstances, federal law may provide protection from discrimination based on gender identity.
Transgender Education and Advocacy Program (TEAP
ACLU of Missouri's newest initiative, the Transgender Education and Advocacy Program (TEAP) seeks to raise awareness about the challenges faced by the transgender community and challenge barriers to equality in our state. We will lift up transgender leadership and build a network of organizers committed to making Missouri a more welcoming, inclusive place to live for everyone.