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The Curious Case of Same-Sex Divorces in Missouri Courts

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St. Louis Circuit Court (KMOX/file photo)

St. Louis Circuit Court (KMOX/file photo)

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - By next week, same-sex couples from Missouri could journey to Illinois, as they have journeyed to Iowa for years, to get married. But what happens if it doesn’t work out?

Basically, the once-happy couple is out of luck.

Because Missouri doesn’t recognize gay marriage, the state has no provisions for gay divorce.

Columbia Attorney Christine Kiefer got married to her same-sex partner in Iowa and is now seeking a divorce. She says there appears to be just one option.

“You could go to any state that recognizes the marriage and then seek a divorce in that state but it has to be based on their marriage laws,” Kiefer explains.

One of the partners would have to establish residency in one of those recognizing states. That takes a year in Iowa but only 90 days in Illinois.

Kiefer says she and her estranged wife are seeking an annulment in a St. Louis court but they don’t think they will be successful.

“We have been told by everyone that that’s not going to work but I went ahead and filed that with my partner and we are waiting for a date. Our expectation is that it won’t work,” she said.

Kiefer says their only hope is that they get a liberal judge who rules that because Missouri doesn’t recognize gay marriages, her marriage never officially occurred.

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