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ST. LOUIS (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit seeking to force Missouri to recognize same-sex marriages performed in states or countries that allow them.

The ACLU filed the lawsuit Wednesday in a Kansas City state court on behalf of eight same-sex couples who live in Missouri and married elsewhere. The lawsuit was announced at news conferences in Kansas City, St. Louis, Jefferson City and Springfield.

RELATED: ACLU to file litigation on behalf of same-sex couples

In 2004, Missouri became the first state to enact a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage after a Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling permitted gay marriage there. Missouri's amendment was approved by 70 percent of voters.

Seventeen states allow gay marriage. Missouri doesn't recognize the marriages and its Republican-led Legislature hasn't shown interest in changing that policy.

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