ST. LOUIS -

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.

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.