The Missouri Department of Revenue is struggling to provide marriage licenses to the tens of thousands of couples who’ve applied for them in the state.
But that shortage of licenses is more a national crisis, according to a new report from the National Marriage Project, which aims to increase awareness of and support for the practice of marriage in the United States.
“This is a national issue,” said Mara Farrow, executive director of the National Center for Marriage and Family, in a statement.
“It’s not limited to one particular state, but this is a nationwide problem.
It’s about the idea that we can do marriage in a way that’s consistent with our values and our laws.
And that’s why the National Commission on Marriage is calling on states to increase their capacity to issue marriage licenses, and to expand their programs to include the types of services that are needed.”
The report, which has a wide-ranging title, “Missouri’s Marriage License Shortage: A National Crisis,” points out that in addition to the shortage of marriage licenses in the Missouri state, there’s a similar shortage in other states, which include Illinois, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky.
Missouri is one of 14 states that require applicants for marriage licenses be at least 18 years old.
That’s a restriction the National Coalition for Marriage, a pro-marriage group, has called unconstitutional, since it requires applicants to be at the very least 16 years old, and a recent federal court ruling has allowed the state to lift that restriction.
The lack of licenses, the National Council for Civil Rights said in a news release, “is causing great harm to millions of Missourians who have been denied their fundamental right to marry because of a state’s antiquated and outdated laws and regulations.”
The coalition called on lawmakers to pass a law to increase the age for marriage to 18 and provide greater support for couples in the process.
In Missouri, only about 10 percent of all marriages performed between couples of the same sex take place in marriage licenses.
The state does not have any other age requirement on marriage licenses and, for many years, a new license for a same-sex couple was only valid for a year.
But that was soon changed to a year and a half, as the state became more accepting of same-gender unions.
Mississippi also has a law requiring applicants for a marriage license be at a certain age.
However, that law is only in effect for a one-year period and does not apply to couples who are married in another state.