JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A Missouri state lawmaker has introduced legislation to repeal the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
House Joint Resolution 85, introduced by openly gay state Rep. Mike Colona (D-St. Louis), would repeal Amendment 2, which defines marriage in Missouri as between one man and one woman. The amendment was approved by 71 percent of voters in August 2004.
“HJR 85 would allow the citizens of Missouri to vote on not just a repeal of the ban on same-sex marriage, but also to allow the State of Missouri to embrace marriage equality,” said Colona.
“Much has changed since this discriminatory measure was passed in 2004. Every single one of us has had friends, family and colleagues who have come out to their loved ones and been denied a basic right afforded to all of our citizens – the right of marriage,” he said.
A recent Washington Post/ABC Poll shows national support of marriage equality at a new high, with close to 60 percent in support. And according to a public policy report in 2012, approximately 33 percent of Missourians said they support legalizing same-sex marriage, and 31 percent said they support civil unions.
“As we have seen across the country, LGBT issues often times take several years of public education on an issue in order for a public policy to change,” said A.J. Bockelman, Executive Director of PROMO, Missouri’s statewide LGBT advocacy organization. “The same goes for marriage.”
Article continues below“Polling and public opinion has moved rapidly on this issue, even in Missouri,” said Bockelman. “This is our opening salvo that marriage is and will be a critical issue for us.”
Last month, with the help of ACLU of Missouri, eight legally married same-sex couples from across the state filed suit challenging the ban, and seeking to have their out-of-state marriages recognized.
Currently, 17 U.S. states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage.
“More and more, people approach me and ask that I take a proactive stand to end this discrimination and move Missouri into the 21st Century,” said Colona. “Today, I and several of my Democratic Colleagues in the Missouri House chose to be on the right side of history and ask you to join us in making Missouri a state that doesn’t discriminate and embraces Marriage Equality.”