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Springfield, Missouri Approves LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance: VIDEO

Springfield city council

Earlier this week, the Springfield City Council approved a bill expanding the city's non-discrimiantion ordinance to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity, the Springfield News-Leader reports:

Council Bill 2014-189, which goes into effect immediately, adds the protections in the case of housing, employment and public accommodations. Council members Jan Fisk, Cindy Rushefsky, Craig Hosmer, Doug Burlison, Jeff Seifried and Mike Carroll voted to approve the bill. Council members Bob Stephens, Craig Fishel and Jerry Compton voted against it. [...]

"It makes a simple statement of equality that should be a given for anyone who lives in a democracy," Rushefsky [second left] said. "It's a shame that we have had to struggle for so long to really establish that principle in our daily lives."

Compton, Fishel and Stephens all spoke before voting against the stronger bill.

"I believe there's insufficient evidence about a lack of existing remedy for these verifiable cases," Compton [far left] said. "Federal and state laws guard against abuse. I do believe there are inadequate safeguards to protect against wrongful use of the proposed ordinance."

Contrary to Compton's claims, there are no federal safeguards against LGBT discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations. According to the HRC, Missouri only protects executive branch employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation. 

Check out video of the council's vote and reactions to the bill's passage from both sides of the issue, AFTER THE JUMP...(warning: autoplay)

Continue reading "Springfield, Missouri Approves LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance: VIDEO" »

Missouri Attorney General on Gay Marriage Ruling: 'We Will Not Appeal Judgment'

6a00d8341c730253ef01a511d81132970c-800wiMissouri's Attorney General Chris Koster has announced the state will not be fighting the decision in landmark case Barrier v. Vasterling, which ruled that the state will recognize same sex marriages from out of state.

It's not marriage equality in full, but Kansas and South Carolina could certainly learn from AG Koster's example, re: knowing when to give up the ghost.

AG Koster released a statement Monday, and its language seems promising for Missourians supporting marriage equality. The statement reads:

The circuit court's judgment in Barrier v. Vasterling held that Missouri must recognize marriages lawfully entered into in other states. We will not appeal that judgment. Our national government is founded upon principles of federalism – a system that empowers Missouri to set policy for itself, but also obligates us to honor contracts entered into in other states.

A consequence of this morning's ruling by the United States Supreme Court is that gay marriage will soon be legal in as many as 30 states. At a time when Missouri is competing to attract the nation's premier businesses and most talented employees, we should not demand that certain individuals surrender their marriage licenses in order to live and work among us.

Missouri's future will be one of inclusion, not exclusion.

In the past, Koster has expressed personal support for marriage equality, but fought it on behalf of Missouri.

Judge Orders Missouri to Recognize Marriages of 10 Gay Couples Wed Outside the State

(image missouri aclu facebook)

Ten gay couples who filed suit demanding Missouri recognize their out-of-state marriages have won, the ACLU reports:

Missouri Circuit Judge J. Dale Youngs ordered that the marriages of 10 couples must be recognized by the state of Missouri. His decision came eight days after hearing the oral arguments in Barrier v. Vasterling, Missouri’s landmark case filed in February by the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri on behalf of 10 same-sex Missouri couples.

Said Jeffrey A. Mittman, executive director of the ACLU of Missouri: "This is a personal win for our 10 courageous couples who stepped up to represent the LGBT community."

The ruling is available here.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Hears Challenge To Missouri Same-Sex Marriage Ban


St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison heard arguments Monday on a challenge to Missouri's gay marriage ban brought by four gay couples who were married in St. Louis by city officials in June.

The couples are Tod Martin and David Gray, Bruce Yampolsky and Terry Garrett, John Durnell and Richard Eaton, and Miranda Duschack and Karen Davis. All but Duschack and Davis attended Monday's hearings, as The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports. Then Recorder of Deeds Sharon Carpenter performed the ceremonies in Mayor Slay's office with his consent. Attorney General Chris Koster filed an injunction to stop the marriages. Though he says he supports same-sex marriage, he also commented that he felt bound to uphold Missouri law (the state has a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage passed in 2004).

Koster did not defend the state's ban in court on Monday. Instead, that duty fell to Assistant Attorney General Jeremiah Morgan. The couples were represented by St. Louis City Counselor Winston Calvert.

The AP reports:

Overturning Missouri's constitutional ban "would at least open doors for the next generation not to have the trials and tribulations that we had," Garrett [a plaintiff in the case] said after the hearing. "We should be able to decide who we love."

But Assistant Attorney General Jeremiah Morgan told [Judge] Burlison that Missouri law limits marriage to between a man and a woman. He argued that 71 percent of Missourians voted for that definition of marriage in a 2004 referendum, and the U.S. Supreme Court has time and again allowed states to define marriage.

"It is the state's, and the people's, responsibility to make that decision," Morgan said.

Calvert noted that an increasing number of states are allowing same-sex marriage, including most of the states surrounding Missouri.

"The laws forbid some people from choosing who they marry," Calvert said. "It's only gay and lesbian couples that are treated as second-class citizens by the state."

The AP also points out that this hearing comes just a week after a federal judge "in Kansas City [heard arguments] on a suit filed by 10 couples over the state's failure to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states."

The ACLU has a pending lawsuit challenging Missouri's gay marriage ban as well.

Regardless of the outcome in any of these cases, it is almost certain that each will be appealed.

Gay Missouri Teachers Fired After Catholic High School Discovers They Got Married in NY: VIDEO

(brian kelly @brpkelly twitter)

Supporters rallied Friday morning for Olivia Reichert and Christina Gambaro, two gay teachers at Cor Jesu, an all-girls Catholic high school in the Affton, Missouri area, who were fired after administrators discovered they had married in New York.

Reichert_gambaroThe St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Wednesday:

Reichert said she and her partner were asked to resign after the school said in late July it received a copy of a mortgage application with the couple’s names. The school said the couple had violated the moral contract faculty are required to sign as part of employment. The couple had married in New York over the summer.

“We understand that, as a Catholic institution, Cor Jesu has an obligation to ensure that its employees serve as Christian role models. However, because they do not enforce the witness statement in any other way, this is a blatant case of discrimination,” Reichert wrote in a statement to the Post-Dispatch.

Chargers Allies, a support group for LGBT students, alumnae, and supporters, was created in response to the firings .

Gambaro (second image, right, via Facebook) thanked supporters on social media:


A rally was held Friday morning, the Post-Dispatch reports, made up of "alumnae; members of the nondenominational Metropolitan Community Church of Greater St. Louis; Faith Aloud, an organization concerned with reproductive issues; and the marriage equality group ShowMeNoHate:"

[The Rev. Wes Mullins, senior pastor at Metropolitan Community Church of Greater St. Louis] said the point of the rally wasn’t to persuade the school to rehire Reichert and Gambaro but to reach out to current students, as well as ask Cor Jesu to rethink its policies.

“If you’re a student there, do you really feel safe talking to any of the teachers now?” Mullins asked. “Are you going to talk to a principal now? I wouldn’t.”

Matthew J. Franck, director of the Witherspoon Institute’s Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution, a think tank in Princeton, N.J., said while “it’s easy to feel very sympathetic to the teachers, the school, as a Catholic school, has a kind of moral obligation to the church.”

“It simply has to let people go who live openly in this way,” Franck said. “I don’t see how any Catholic administrator with any integrity can do anything but what they did here.”

Some alumnae have vowed to withhold donations to the school until the matter is resolved in the teachers' favor.

Missouri currently has a ban on same-sex marriage. In February 2014 the ACLU and the LGBT rights group PROMO filed a lawsuit challenging the discriminatory law.

Listen to St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Jessica Bock discuss the firing with radio host McGraw Milhaven, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay Missouri Teachers Fired After Catholic High School Discovers They Got Married in NY: VIDEO" »

St. Louis Cop Retires On Full Pension Following Vile Homophobic Rant - VIDEO

Dan page

Dan Page, a St. Louis police officer who was last month suspended after a homophobic, racist, misogynist and Islamophobic video came to light, has retired on his full pension and benefits, reports New York.

Discussing what he sees as the persecution and prosecution of Christians in the U.S. today, Page said:

“There are three phases that a society goes through. One is persecution. That means your faith is being challenged, everybody mocks you, everybody ridicules you. They stand for nothing. If you stand against sodomy and abortion - you are a terrorist ladies and gentlemen. The next phase is prosecution. There's a couple out there in New Mexico that are being prosecuted and put out of business and were arrested because they refused to take pictures of sodomites. What about my freedom of religion from that? And the military right now - you have open sodomy. People holding hands, swapping spit together. It's sick. It's pitiful.”

Page, who first caught the media’s attention when he pushed CNN anchor Don Lemon during a demonstration in Ferguson, decided to retire in order to avoid an internal review set to begin last week.

However, despite his vile rant, the 35-year veteran is expected to receive his full pension and benefits.

Watch an excerpt of Page's homophobic rant and a video of Page confronting Lemon, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "St. Louis Cop Retires On Full Pension Following Vile Homophobic Rant - VIDEO" »


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