JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A Missouri legislator has introduced a bill that would make it illegal for the state to enforce a marriage other than between a man and a woman and could lead to the firing of government employees who issue such licenses.
The bill, SB 555, was introduced by Sen. Ed Emery (R-Lamar) on Thursday:
This act provides that the state shall not enforce a marriage other than a marriage between a man and a woman. Additionally, no state or local taxpayer funds or state or local government employee salaries shall be dispersed for an activity that includes the licensing or support of a marriage other than a marriage between a man and a woman.
Any employee of the state or any political subdivision or instrumentality of the state who willfully and knowingly violates the provisions of this act may be terminated and shall no longer receive any salary, employee benefits, or retirement benefits, except that the employee may request a refund of the employee’s retirement contributions plus interest.
Same-sex marriage licenses are currently being issued in St. Louis City, St. Louis County and Jackson County, Mo., following back-to-back state and federal court decisions declaring Missouri’s 2004 ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. In Oct. 2014, a Jackson County decision recognized same-sex marriages performed in other states.
Both the St. Louis Circuit Court and Kansas City U.S. District Court decisions have been appealed by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster to the State Supreme Court and 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, respectively.
Koster, a Democrat who supports marriage equality but says it is his job to defend state laws, did not appeal the earlier decision recognizing out of state same-sex marriages.
Article continues below“I was disappointed that a bill like this has been introduced this year,” said Kyle Piccola, Senior Field Organizer for PROMO, Missouri’s statewide LGBT advocacy organization. “Even after three judges in Missouri ruled in favor of marriage equality, some members of the legislature are grasping to stop the inevitable from happening.”
Emery’s bill comes on the heels of a Senate Education Committee’s hearing of twin bills (SB-248 and SB-311) on Wednesday, which would make it legal for Christian college groups to discriminate against LGBT students on Missouri campuses. Similar legislation has been introduced in the Missouri House.