(KMOV.com) -- The Boone County Treasurer’s Office will now recognize same-sex marriage licenses from other states.
Treasurer Nicole Galloway says the move is effective immediately.
The decision means that the surviving spouse from a same-sex marriage can use the out-of-state marriage certificate as proof of claim for any unclaimed property the Treasurer’s Office may hold.
“Regardless of what state you were married in, I’m not going to discriminate based on your legal marriage and what state you’re married in,” Galloway said. “As I said, we accept legal documents from states across the country and this is an extension of that.”
Galloway says she doesn’t expect any legal challenges to the new policy.
But same-sex marriage can be a divisive and emotional issue. In 2004, 70 percent of Missourians voted for a constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriages.
“I think it’s a great step forward for obatining equal access to the law for all Missourians,” said Kyle Piccola with gay rights group Promo. “It’s another great example of the specific burdens placed on these committed couples and why the simple benefits of marriage are really important.”
The Missouri ban on same-sex marriages may be on shaky ground.
Governor Jay Nixon says he supports ending the ban and believes voters should have a right to repeal the amendment.
Nixon has also directed state officials to accept joint returns from same-sex couple married in other states.
Same sex marriages are currently performed in 17 states.
In Illinois, a same-sex marriage law takes effect June 1.