“Instead of solving a problem, the U.S. Supreme Court has created one,” said Bill Lant, State Representative for the 159th District of Missouri, which includes Seneca and all of McDonald County.
With the Supreme Court ruling on June 26 that same-sex couples are now legally allowed to marry in all 50 states, Lant and State Rep. Bill Reiboldt (R-Neosho) have made it clear where they stand on the decision.
“I respect the law, but I disagree completely,” said Reiboldt, who represents the 160th District that includes Neosho and Granby.
According to Lant and Reiboldt, there isn’t anything the State of Missouri can do to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision. Both lawmakers said they have not received any calls from anyone in their districts regarding the issue.
“I have no idea what bills or legislation will come up (in the next legislative session), but I’m sure that we haven’t heard the end of it,” said Lant.
With more couples being able to apply for spousal benefits, some lawmakers have questioned whether there will be a severe increase of funding for them.
“I don’t think there will be that huge of an impact on benefits as much as in the industry sector, but it will be a minimal impact,” said Lant.
According to Reiboldt, there is nothing that can be done on a state level to stop this.
“Nullification has never worked before, and right now we are seeing our religious liberties being assaulted,” said Reiboldt.
As of right now, the Supreme Court’s decision is in effect and same-sex couples can get a marriage license in Missouri.
“There are a few states that I know of that are talking about doing away with marriage licenses totally,” said Lant.
“You will see a lot of different court cases come up in this issue,” said Reiboldt.
Both Lant and Reiboldt firmly stand against the Supreme Court’s decision, but will respect what the law says.
“I don’t know what to tell a young person now. Do we want our children growing up and becoming gay? I don’t think so,” said Reiboldt.
The year before last Missouri passed a Religious Freedom Act to protect from further issues like this.
“This decision is very sad for our society and our young people,” said Reiboldt.
According to law, marriage is no longer required to be between one man and one woman in Missouri.
“I fear for what is next, and I hope that our country can ride it out,” said Reiboldt.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon this week signed Executive Order 15-04 which directs all state departments, agencies, boards and commissions in the executive branch to take all necessary measures to ensure compliance with the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which establishes a Constitutional right to same-sex marriage.
“This landmark ruling was a historic step forward for our nation, and it has some very real benefits for families here in Missouri,” said Nixon.
The order makes clear that local governments have an obligation to comply with this ruling as well, and it rescinds Executive Order 13-14, which directed the state Department of Revenue to accept the jointly-filed state tax returns of same-sex couples who had been legally married in other states. As a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, this executive order is no longer necessary.
“As governor, I’m committed to protecting the rights of al Missourians, and that’s why I am signing Executive Order 14-04 to ensure the Supreme Court’s ruling is implemented uniformly throughout state government,” said Nixon.
Nixon also reiterated his call for the Missouri General Assembly to pass the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act, which would prohibit discrimination against LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Missourians in employment, housing, and public accommodations.
“Same-sex couples now have the right to get married, but here in Missouri, individuals can still be fired for being gay. That’s wrong, it’s not who we are and it must change,” said Nixon.
In 2010 Nixon signed an executive order prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in state government.
By Mattie Sexton