Missouri Fire District Settles Same Sex Benefits Suit

A Missouri fire district has agreed to pay $20,000 to settle a federal lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a captain who sought spousal benefits for her same-sex partner.

In 2014, the ACLU of Missouri filed the action against the Ozark Fire Protection District on behalf of Captain Andi Mooneyham. Captain Mooneyham married Tara Muck on July 25, 2013 in California, where same sex marriages were legal. Because Missouri law at the time did not recognize same sex marriages, the district denied benefits offered to heterosexual couples.

Subsequently last June, the US Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges, that the right to marry is a fundamental right that cannot be denied to same sex couples.

Here is a copy of the Mooneyham settlement agreement: Mooneyham-Ozark-Fire-settlement

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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