SCOTUS, Missouri and Gay Marriage

It ended up as a backwater story overshadowed by the lack of guidance from the Supreme Court.

St. Louis, MOOn October 2, a Missouri court ruled that the state must recognize same-sex marriages in Missouri that were performed in other states where marriage equality is the law. On October 6, the Supreme Court decided it would not hear the challenges to the anti-same-sex marriage statutes and amendments. SCOTUS is bigger and more influential than Missouri, so to find the stories concerning Missouri’s ruling are difficult at best.

Here is the summary of the story. Ten Missouri couples who were married outside of the Show-me state were attempting to acquire benefits given to opposite sex couples married in other states and now living in Missouri. Jackson County (Kansas City, Mo.) Circuit Judge J. Dale Youngs sided with the couples stating that the Missouri amendment violated that equal protection clause of the state and federal constitution. This is essentially the same argument that has been won in all but one instant on the federal level.

The refusal of SCOTUS to hear the five state cases shows how volatile the actions are. However, by not ruling, the five states must now issue licenses to same-sex couples for marriage and another six will have to follow suit.

Missouri is not far behind on the elimination of the infamous 2004 Amendment 2 which states that a marriage is defined as between one man and one woman. Since then, attitudes have changed with the speed of light, even in this mostly conservative and religious state. The next big step will be the lawsuit by a couple or couples that wish to marry on Missouri but cannot because of their status of being of the same gender.

I strongly believe that the arguments against gay marriage originate from a religious base and that such laws as Missouri’s Amendment 2 are, in fact, religious based. Most of the arguments fall into two areas: the misinterpretation of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah and, Leviticus 18:22 which states, “Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.”

(It must be noted here that a woman is not forbidden to have a relationship with another woman as she would a man.)

The reason for Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction was not because of homosexual relations but because the two cities refused to accept the god of Abraham as their god. I have written extensively about this subject in my upcoming book The Clobber Passages.

I firmly believe that if the Supreme Court argues the marriage equality issue, they will be forced to argue, in part, the religious aspect of the statutes and amendments. That would mean arguing the First Amendments Free Exercise clause, something the courts have stayed away from since ruling on Abington Township School District v. Schempp in 1963. Since ruling that the Lord’s Prayer had no place in public education, the Court has remained silent on the issue.

We know that Justice Antonin Scalia will find in favor of the anti-marriage equality laws. He has already said that tradition is a valid reason for a law’s existence. This is not a proper reading of the definition of “law” and we can site many examples where tradition has failed the test of the courts or of Congress. We certainly know of many instances where tradition has failed the ever evolving national morality.

It will not be long before Missouri’s Amendment 2 is repealed either by court decision or by popular vote. However, the religious arguments will not be deterred even after such repeal takes place.

About David Rosman

David is the winner of the Missouri Press Foundation's "Best Columnist" in 2013 (First Place) and 2014 (Second Place), the 2016 Harold Riback Award for excellence in writing, and the winner of the 2007 Interactive Media Award for excellence in editing.
This entry was posted in Christian Right, Church and State, Church/State Separation, Gay Rights, LGBT, Missouri, Politics, politics, Religion, Religious. Bookmark the permalink.

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