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ACLU to challenge same-sex marriage ban in Missouri

St. Louis at night
St. Louis at night
I, Daniel Schwen [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC-BY-SA-2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons

On Wednesday, February 12, 2014, ten years after Missouri voters approved a constitutional amendment banning the recognition of same-sex marriage, the ACLU filed a suit to challenge that ban in a Kansas City state court. ACLU's Diane Balogh announced the lawsuit on Tuesday, but she refused to discuss specific details. It's still unclear whether they are challenging the ban on marriages within the state or simply the recognition of marriages performed in other states. (edit: A later press conference revealed that they will be challenging the recognition of same-sex marriages performed in states or countries that allow them.)

In 2004 Missouri became the first state to enact a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in a knee-jerk reaction that started a wave of discriminatory legislation nation-wide. At the time, the federal Defense of Marriage Act gave a sense of legitimacy to those scrambling to protect "the sanctity of marriage" dues to Section 3 of DOMA which states, "In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word 'spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife."

On June 26, 2013 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled Section 3 of DOMA to be unconstitutional. If Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional then anything that used Section 3 of DOMA to justify itself will obviously also be unconstitutional. Unfortunately, opponents of same-sex marriage lack the intellectual integrity to just admit defeat and change the laws, forcing us to waste time and money in the court system in order to do what's right.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, there are some who believe maintaining the ban is the right thing to do. Rep. Nick Marshall filed impeachment papers against Missouri Governor Jay Nixon merely for enacting an executive order allowing same-sex couples who qualify to file their federal taxes jointly to file jointly in Missouri, as well. This is completely ridiculous seeing as how executive order is a perfectly acceptable way to strike down discriminatory laws. We celebrate Lincoln's executive order which freed the slaves. So why can't we let gay couples file their taxes together? Who does this hurt?

Those letters of impeachment will seem even more foolish after the courts strike down the offending lines in the Missouri Constitution that the Republican representative is using to rouse his posse. The Republicans in Missouri state legislature apparently feel it is a dereliction of duty to preemptively do the right thing. They would prefer to keep kicking and screaming until the courts force us to do what's right. Then they will complain about the "activist judges" rather than accepting that this is how the "checks and balances" our founding fathers wrote into the Constitution are supposed to work.