By: Andrew Shaughnessy
Originally posted on PROMOOnline.org
Last week, the Social Security Administration (SSA) confirmed that the agency is directing all Missouri offices to recognize valid Missouri marriage licenses from same-sex couples as proof of documentation for name changes. Guidance issued by the SSA clarifies that all same-sex couples, including those who received a valid marriage license on June 25th, 2014 and thereafter, would be recognized by SSA for benefits. Pending applications for name changes are being processed for those Missouri couples whom have already sent in their applications.
Having received several complaints from Missourians, who were being denied recognition of their marriages by SSA, PROMO acted.
Jennifer LaVelle from St. Louis County was one of the many that filed such a complaint. “There is no reason for such a delay in providing me with the same benefits that every single person in the U.S. receives when they are legally married,” said Jennifer in her complaint. “As a citizen of Missouri, a voter, a taxpayer, I would like to receive the same rights and privileges afforded every other person who is legally married in the U.S.”
PROMO took these complaints directly to Governor Nixon’s administration, who championed this issue from the beginning. Governor Nixon’s administration—in partnership with PROMO—coordinated directly with the SSA and other federal officials to advocate on behalf of Missouri families. As a result of this leadership, the SSA will now recognize valid Missouri marriage licenses from same-sex couples.
Governor Nixon’s leadership on this issue continues his long-standing support of marriage equality, including the issuance of Executive Order 15-04 directing all state agencies to take “all necessary measures” to comply with the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.
“We applaud the champions in Governor Nixon’s administration for their continued diligence in ensuring that every Missourian receives the full benefits of marriage equality—on both the federal and state level—and we look forward to continuing this work alongside them to further LGBT equality for all Missourians,” says Steph Perkins, PROMO Interim Executive Director.