Missouri county says it will not defend state’s ban on same-sex marriage

Missouri county says it will not defend state’s ban on same-sex marriage
Dent County Commissioner Gary Larson said the Supreme Court's decision is "just one step backward."

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jackson County, Mo., will not fight a lawsuit challenging Missouri’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Missouri-flagJackson County Executive Mike Sanders tells KMBC-TV that he won’t spend taxpayer money to defend the ban, and that “it’s not the county’s obligation to defend State of Missouri actions.”

“Ultimately, that’s going to fall on the Legislature and/or the Missouri Attorney General’s Office,” said Sanders.

The lawsuit was filed June 24 by the ACLU of Missouri on behalf of two same-sex couples who say they were denied marriage licenses in Kansas City.

The complaint contends that Missouri’s constitutional provision limiting marriage to one man and one woman, approved by voters in 2004, violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the U.S. Constitution.

The suit names Jackson County Recorder of Deeds Robert Kelly as defendant.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster’s office had no comment about the Jackson County decision not to fight the lawsuit.

On June 25, the St. Louis recorder of deeds issued marriage licenses to four same-sex couples in open defiance of the state ban.

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