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Missouri lawmakers consider codifying same-sex marriage and provisions for covenant marriages

Published Tuesday, Jan. 11th, 2022


Missouri legislators have prefiled two marriage-law related measures for consideration in 2022: one that would amend the state’s Constitution and codify the right to same-sex marriage; and another that would create new provisions for covenant marriages.


Here’s a brief look at each. 


Codifying same-sex marriage


Most states still have defunct bans against same-sex marriage written into their statutes and state constitutions. These laws aren’t enforceable, but haven’t been updated since same-sex marriage became federally recognized in 2015

Missouri House Joint Resolution 84 (HJR84) would add a measure to the November general election ballot, asking voters to repeal a section of the state’s Constitution that defines marriage as valid only between a man and a woman, and to adopt a new section in its place. This would effectively codify same-sex marriages, protecting the right for all couples to marry at a state level, regardless of gender.


If HJR84 is passed, the amended section would read:  


“Section 33. That to be valid and recognized in this state, a marriage shall exist between two persons regardless of the genders of the two persons.” 




Covenant Marriage 


Missouri House Bill 1693 (HB1693) would add two new sections to the Missouri Revised Statutes, creating new legal provisions for covenant marriage. 


Covenant marriages are legally distinct from other types of marriage in ways that make it harder for a couple to divorce, and are entered into using a specific ‘covenant marriage license.’ These strict marriage agreements are only found in a few states and are almost always entered into for religious reasons. 


If passed, the bill would create Section 451.055 (“Missouri Covenant Marriage Act”) and 452.055, which outline the requirements and steps for establishing a covenant marriage, including: the conditions of the marriage, the license to be used, the affidavits required, how to convert a standard marriage agreement to a covenant marriage, the reasonable efforts required to preserve the marriage, and the limited grounds for divorce or separation. 



We expect to hear more about these measures in the coming months and will keep you updated. 




American Marriage Ministries works hard to keep our State Marriage Laws index up to date, so that our ordained Ministers have reliable and accessible information when performing ceremonies, answering couples' questions, and returning marriage licenses. 


To learn more about the marriage laws in your state and others, visit our library:


State Marriage Laws Library 




How to Become a Wedding Officiant in Missouri


Friends and family members can officiate wedding ceremonies in Missouri: Become an ordained minister with AMM's free online ordination -- it only takes a minute to complete.




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Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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