JEFFERSON CITY- The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri and PROMO, Missouri’s statewide LGBT advocacy organization, condemn the vote of Missouri’s House General Laws committee to roll back marriage equality. HB 2173, sponsored by Representative Adam Schnelting’s [R-104], passed the House General Laws committee today. The Courts are clear- marriage equality is the law of the land. This legislature’s attempt to “get the government out of marriage” is a thinly veiled ploy to undermine marriage equality.
Rejecting national precedent, Missouri’s lawmakers have imperiled marriage rights for all, putting over 1000 federal benefits on the line to create a two-tiered system of marriage for Missourians. If this proposal, HB 2173, passes both chambers and becomes law, marriage will be the sole purview of religious groups and domestic unions will be the second class alternative available to all who chose to marry outside of a religious setting. This could damage the ability of all Missourians to access benefits including spouse survival benefits and the ability to sponsor a foreign spouse.
Equality is under unprecedented attack in Missouri with 15 anti-LGBT bills filed seeking to undermine the ability of LGBT Missourians to live freely. This stands in stark contrast to any movement on the Missouri Non-Discrimination Act (MONA), filed for the 22nd year, that has yet to be assigned to committee. The vote today, the impending legislative assault, and this legislature’s failure to even consider basic protections for its LGBT residents demonstrates a willingness to fuel culture wars designed to place partisanship over the people they serve.
“We are stronger when we play on one team and act with one voice to affirm that all Missourians are equal under the law,” says Sara Baker, Policy Director for the ACLU of Missouri, “love is love and this legislature has no business subverting marriage equality to serve partisan interests.”
Today, PROMO welcomed families from across the state to Jefferson City to urge legislators to reject the slew of anti-LGBT bills moving through the process. PROMO’s Manager of Public Policy, Samati Niyomchai, noted, “Throughout this week and last we have seen countless families bare their souls to this legislature. Fighting to preserve the dignity of their marriages and the health of their children. We stand with them and against this body as it questions their love and their very lives.”