Missouri Fire District Sued Over Same Sex Marriage Benefits

A Missouri fire protection district is being sued over its refusal to provide married couples of the same sex with the benefits it offers to heterosexual married couples.

The Ozark Fire Protection District was sued today by the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri on behalf of Captain Andi Mooneyham. Captain Mooneyham married Tara Muck on July 25, 2013 in California, where same sex marriages are legal. Missouri law does not recognize same sex marriages.

According to the complaint, the fire protection district refused to grant the couple spousal benefits “relying upon Mo. Rev. Stat. § 451.022 and Art. I, § 33 of the Missouri Constitution, both of which purport to prohibit recognition of marriages entered into by persons of the same sex.”

The ACLU alleges that the fire protection district policy violates the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution, and that Mo. Rev. Stat. § 451.022 and Art. I, § 33 of the Missouri Constitution were declared unconstitutional in October by the Circuit Court of Jackson County.

The action was filed in US District Court earlier today.

Here is a copy of the complaint: 248069503-Ozark-Fire-Department-Complaint

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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