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Attorneys argue Mo. recognizes marriages of cousins, it should also recognize same-sex marriages

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Kansas City judge is hearing arguments in a Jackson County lawsuit challenging Missouri's rejection of same-sex marriages that have been performed in other states.

Ten same-sex couples who were married in other states are suing Kansas City and state officials, including Gov. Jay Nixon and Attorney General Chris Koster, for violating their due process and equal protection rights under the U.S. Constitution.

The American Civil Liberties Union is representing the couples.

The plaintiffs say under a 2013 Supreme Court ruling Missouri is obligated to recognize same-sex marriages, as it recognizes, for example, the marriage of cousins. While Missouri does not allow cousins to marry, it does recognize the marriage of cousins married in states where it is allowed.

Kansas City leaders say they believe in an inclusive environment, but limited on what they can recognize until the law changes in Missouri.

"Just to be able to be recognized and to not have to feel like I have to hide the fact that I'm married to a man," said Randy Short.

The judge hearing the arguments hopes to make a decision in the next few weeks.

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