Boone County Courthouse

 

COLUMBIA, MO – Boone County will grant employment, retirement and survivor benefits to same-sex spouses of county employees beginning Jan. 1, the Columbia Daily Tribune reports.

 

According to Boone County Human Resources Director Jenna Redel-Reed, the county will offer health insurance, dental and life insurance for all legally married spouses regardless of gender.

 

The Boone County Health Trust Committee voted, Nov. 10, to expand the definition of spouse to any couple with a “valid” marriage license bringing them in compliance with recent court rulings. A subsequent vote on Dec. 2 by the Retirement Fund Board then extended survivor and retirement benefits to spouses of same-sex couples employed by the county.

 

In October, a Kansas City Circuit court weighed in on Barrier v. Vasterling ruling that same-sex couples married out-of-state must be recognized by the state of Missouri. Two subsequent cases, Missouri v. Jennifer Florida and Lawson v. Kelly have found Missouri’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional but the rulings are stayed until appeal.

 

The City of Columbia and the University of Missouri already grant benefits to same-sex couples in their employ. Columbia Public Schools also allow same-sex couples to access

 

Missouri’s Amendment 2, which defines marriage in Missouri as between one man and one woman, was approved by 71 percent of voters in August 2004.

 

Same-Sex marriage is currently legal in 35 states and the District of Columbia.

 

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