Gov. Jay Nixon says he hopes Missourians get another chance to vote on same-sex marriage.
The Democrat made that comment Thursday in response to a reporter's question during the annual Missouri Press Association/Associated Press Day at the Capitol. The governor said that he's in favor of repealing the 2004 constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
"We shouldn't treat folks differently just because of who they are or who they love," Nixon said. "If folks want to get married, they should be able to get married, but to change that law will necessitate and require the people of Missouri to speak, and I hope they get the opportunity to do that."
No legislation is currently filed that would seek to undo Missouri's ban on same-sex marriage. There is, in contrast, a proposed constitutional amendment to refuse to recognize same-sex marriage and civil unions if that recognition is dictated by the federal government. It's part of a larger resolution, SJR 38, sponsored by state Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, Mo.
Nixon has also called on lawmakers to pass legislation to make it illegal to discriminate against someone in Missouri based on sexual orientation. That bill, SB 757, is sponsored by state Sen. Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City. Justus is openly gay, and in 2009 she married her partner in a ceremony held in Iowa, where gay marriage is legal. Last year, her proposal was added onto another bill and passed by the Missouri Senate on the last day of the 2013 regular session, but the House chose not to take it up.
Last year, the governor issued an executive order directing state tax officials to accept joint federal income tax returns from gay couples in Missouri who were legally married in another state. Meanwhile, state Rep. Nick Marshall, R-Parkville, has filed an article of impeachment against Nixon over the executive order.
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