Press Release: Legislative Leaders Urge the Attorney General to Seek a Stay in Controversial Ruling



Nov. 24, 2014


Legislative Leaders Urge the Attorney General to

Seek a Stay in Controversial Ruling



JEFFERSON CITY—Senate Leader Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, and House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, sent a letter earlier this month to Attorney General Chris Koster asking him to seek a stay on a recent circuit court decision.


In the case, a local judge in St. Louis ruled that Missouri’s constitutional provision, passed overwhelmingly by voters affirming that marriage exists between a man and a woman, is unconstitutional.


Dempsey said allowing this controversial ruling to take immediate effect will cause confusion while the case is appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court.


“This single judge’s decision directly conflicts with the Missouri Constitution as approved by voters,” said Dempsey. “The attorney general has refused to ask for a stay, setting a dangerous precedent of allowing the opinion of one local judge to trump the will of the Legislature and the citizenry. While local judges serve an important role, they are merely ministers, not masters of the law. Allowing this decision to take immediate effect undermines our core system of three co-equal branches that is essential to protecting our citizens’ liberties.”


“In light of this month’s events and other issues over the past few years, the House and Senate will look seriously at updating the statute to allow the Legislature to intervene in a pending court case in instances where the attorney general fails to do his statutory duty,” said Jones. “Having asked the citizens to appoint him to this critical post, I respectfully urge the attorney general to perform his duty as the state’s highest law enforcement official and ask the lower court to stay this decision while the Missouri Supreme Court deliberates.”


Dempsey and Jones have also asked the attorney general to name a special assistant attorney general to perform the duties of his office if he is personally unable or unwilling to zealously defend the law as passed by Missouri voters.


In 2004, by more than a 70 percent margin, voters approved a change to the Missouri Constitution, stating that “to be valid and recognized in this state a marriage shall exist only between a man and a woman.”






Lauren Hieger, Senate Majority Caucus Communications Director

(573) 751-7266 –