Same-Sex Marriage

Mike Colona
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back state Rep. Mike Colona to the program. The St. Louis Democrat was a guest on the show back in 2013.

Rep. Mike Colona, D-St. Louis, speaks against SJR 39 during Wednesday's House Emerging Issues committee meeting.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

A proposed constitutional amendment to shield clergy and business owners in Missouri from punishment for refusing to participate in same-sex weddings has failed.

The House Emerging Issues committee voted 6-6 Wednesday on Senate Joint Resolution 39, the tie vote effectively killing the measure.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

Business and religious leaders were on opposite sides at a committee hearing on a proposed amendment to the Missouri Constitution that would shield some people from participating in or selling services to a same-sex wedding.

Senate Joint Resolution 39 passed the Senate last month, but only after Republican leaders forced a vote and shutdown a nearly 40-hour filibuster by Democrats.

(courtesy Missouri Competes)

"Discrimination has no place in Missouri.”

That line greets visitors to the Missouri Competes website.

The coalition has come out against Senate Joint Resolution 39, a measure to put a proposed constitutional amendment on the state ballot that would allow clergy and some businesses to refuse services for same-sex weddings.

Elijah Haahr
Mallory Daily | St. Louis Public Radio intern

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome state Rep. Elijah Haahr to the show for the first time.

The Springfield Republican was first elected to the Missouri House in 2012. Haahr represents a somewhat suburban area of Springfield, an area that encompasses a very popular Bass Pro Shop. And he is chairman of the House Emerging Issues Committee, which has been a staging area for some high-profile pieces of legislation.

Civic Progress President Tom Irwin stands with Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon at the St. Louis Regional Chamber. Business groups held a presser condemning the amendment.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s business organizations are waging an all out attack on an amendment aimed at allowing clergy and business owners to refuse services to same-sex weddings. 

The measure, known as SJR39, was the central focus of a nearly two-day-long filibuster by Missouri Senate Democrats. Republicans employed a rarely used parliamentary procedure known as the "previous question" to squelch the talk-a-thon, and now the amendment awaits action in the Missouri House.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated March 15, 12:15 p.m. -- The slow-down in the Missouri Senate has entered its third day and forced Republicans to adjourn Tuesday after less than an hour in session.

Democrats began by forcing another full reading of the prior day's journal, which only took about 14 minutes.  Monday's journal reading was much longer, taking nearly an hour.

Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake Saint Louis, campaigned last year as a proponent of right to work -- even though labor unions have gained a bit of a foothold in St. Charles County.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

A Senate-sponsored constitutional amendment that would shield businesses in the wedding industry from legal repercussions if they denied their services to same-sex couples is headed to the House. The amendment passed 23-7.

Wikimedia Commons

Republicans in the Missouri Senate have given first-round approval to legislation that would shield clergy and business owners from state penalties for refusing to work on same-sex weddings.

Democrats had filibustered Senate Joint Resolution 39 nonstop since Monday afternoon, but early Wednesday morning GOP leaders used a procedural move, known as "moving the previous question," to cut off debate and force a vote.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Legislation designed to allow business owners and clergy to refuse to participate in same-sex weddings is being blocked in the Missouri Senate.

Senate Joint Resolution 39 is a proposed constitutional amendment that would bar the state from "penalizing clergy, religious organizations, and certain individuals for their religious beliefs concerning marriage between two people of the same sex."

s_falkow | Flickr

The past year was a landmark one for many legal issues—both nationally and locally. On Thursday’s “St. Louis on the Air,” our monthly Legal Roundtable convened to discuss the legal decisions (or lack thereof) which had the most impact on 2015. They also looked ahead to 2016.

Joining the show:

Outgoing PROMO executive director A.J. Bockelman
Provided by PROMO

The executive director of Missouri’s statewide organization for LGBT equality is leaving his post at the end of October. But it's possible he might later continue his work in a different arena: Jefferson City.

A.J. Bockleman has been executive director of PROMO since 2007. He announced today he’s stepping down after eight years of what often felt like an uphill, non-stop fight for LGBT rights.

(via Flickr/steakpinball)

The U.S. Supreme Court recently passed monumental decisions on same-sex marriage and upheld a high-profile challenge to the Affordable Care Act.

Monica Rea, left, and Pam Grakanoff lean back from a kiss after exchanging rings Saturday, June 27, 2015 at St. Louis City Hall.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 9:22 Sunday, June 28 with confirmed number of participants.

The St. Louis City Hall Rotunda echoed with laughter and cheers Saturday as same-sex couples were legally married. The ceremony took place just one day after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.

Monica Rea and Pam Graklanoff were one of twelve couples who exchanged wedding vows.

Many children were in the crowd at City Hall Friday night.
Cindy Betz

A joyous throng filled the rotunda of St. Louis’s City Hall Friday night — on the eve of PrideFest — to celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.

The court ruled Friday that all 50 states must allow these unions. They must also recognize such marriages performed in other states and countries.

U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision recognizing a constitutional right of same-sex couples to marry traversed centuries of arguments about how the court should find new rights that are fundamental to individual liberty.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for a five-justice majority, came down firmly on the side of a Constitution that grows with time and that recognizes the “dignity” and “autonomy” of the individual. He said it is the job of judges to identify and protect newly recognized fundamental rights that haven’t been enumerated in the Constitution.

Arlene Zarembka and Zuleyma Tang-Martinez got married in Canada in 2005.
Sarah Kellogg | St. Louis Public Radio

In a resounding victory for the rights of same-sex couples, the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the U.S. Constitution requires states to issue marriage licenses to those couples.

Jim Obergefell is the lead plaintiff in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court that will likely decide whether same-sex marriage is legal throughout the country.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Updated on June 26 with news of ruling  — Today in a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution required states to give marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in that case, sat down to talk with St. Louis on the Air three weeks before the decision was handed down. 

Our original story.

Jim Obergefell's ring is fused with the ring of his late husband, John Arthur.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Jim Obergefell’s husband, John Arthur, passed away in 2013 but Arthur's legacy lives on ― in court and on Jim’s ring finger.

Later this month, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on a case in which Obergefell is the lead plaintiff. The case, Obergefell v. Hodges, will likely decide whether same-sex marriage is legal throughout the country. It’s currently legal in 37 states.

“St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh talked with Obergefell and A.J. Bockelman of PROMO. The full interview will air on Thursday.

Alex Heuer

New Jewish Theatre closes its 2014-15 with “My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding.” Based on a true story, the musical chronicles the life of writer David Hein’s mother while addressing the topic of marriage equality through song and dance. New Jewish Theatre artistic director Kathleen Sitzer and actors Ben Nordstrom and Laura Ackermann joined “Cityscape” host Steve Potter to discuss the production.

Nordstrom, who portrays David Hein, accompanied himself on guitar to perform the song that opens the production.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

The head of the Missouri Senate wants the authority to intervene in lawsuits whenever the attorney general chooses not to get involved.

The move follows recent court rulings that declared the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.

Ed Martin talks about his work as chairman of the Missouri Republican Party, and his new job as president of the Eagle Forum with 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh  on Feb. 12, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio file photo

Ed Martin wants to make it clear that he does not support same-sex marriage, and neither does the Eagle Forum.

Martin has taken over as president of the Eagle Forum, a conservative interest group created in the 1970s by Phyllis Schlafly. That organization describes itself as pro-family and has traditionally been anti-abortion and anti-same-sex marriage.

Human Rights Campaign / HRC logo

Missouri has a long way to go to achieve equality for LGBT residents, according to a national advocacy organization.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) issued a report today showing Missouri is among 29 states lacking basic equality standards. The organization gives Missouri particularly low marks in two areas:

U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court’s announcement that it will take up same-sex marriage this term has many people searching for clues to how the court’s justices may rule.

The high court will decide whether same-sex couples have a right to marry under the constitution. Specifically, the court will hear cases that ask it to overturn bans in four states. The cases will be argued in April; a decision is expected in June.

Reena Hajat Carroll, executive director of the Diversity Awareness Partnership, says the number of diversity training requests have "been crazy."
Provided by the Diversity Awareness Partnership

Many older Americans were introduced to their first interracial couple in 1967 by the Sidney Poitier classic featuring what was then a shocking pairing, on-screen or off. 

But today, especially when even same-sex interracial couples can marry in St. Louis, we don’t care who’s coming to dinner — right?

The Supreme Court of Missouri
via Flickr | david_shane

The Missouri Supreme Court is considering whether the state's ban on same-sex marriage also prevents gay couples in Missouri from getting divorced in Missouri courts.

A man identified only as M.S. married his male partner, identified as D.S., in Iowa in December 2012. The couple separated in August 2013, and in January of this year M.S. filed for divorce in St. Louis County. But Associate Circuit Judge John Borbonus ruled that Missouri's refusal to recognize same-sex marriages barred him from granting the couple a divorce.

James Cridland via Flickr

Producer's note: Join us for a special live edition of "St. Louis on the Air" at 10 p.m. Monday, following the announcement of the grand jury decision. You can listen live.

As the nation waited for the Darren Wilson grand jury decision announcement on Monday, the legal roundtable reconvened to discuss issues related to Ferguson, same-sex marriage and other legal issues.

Kurt Nordstrom via Flickr

The average cost of a wedding in Missouri is $22,343. Same-sex marriage is, at least for now, legal in Missouri. So what does that mean, economically?

Last week, a federal judge in Kansas City and a circuit court judge in St. Louis struck down Missouri's ban on same-sex marriage. 

Kurt Nordstrom via Flickr

It’s hardly June, but wedding vendors in Missouri are hearing from lots of couples.

Last week both a circuit court judge in St. Louis and federal judge in Kansas City found Missouri’s ban on same sex marriage unconstitutional. As a result the city of St. Louis, St. Louis County and Jackson County began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Pat Rutherford-Pettine, owner of the The Sugaree Baking Co., said she’s done wedding cakes and pies for civil unions for many years. She’s baking her first official wedding cake for a same sex couple in Missouri this week.

Lilly Leyh and Sadie Pierce wait to get their marriage license on Nov. 5, 2014, at the St. Louis recorder of deeds office.
Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

Last week, a federal judge in Kansas City followed a St. Louis judge and struck down Missouri’s ban on same-sex marriage.

“As it stands right now, marriage between same-sex couples is legal in Missouri,” A.J. Bockelman, executive director of Promo, told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Monday. Promo is a statewide organization that advocates for equality. “We have licenses being issued in St. Louis, St. Louis County and Kansas City.”