JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri State Senators Bob Onder (R – St. Charles) and Ed Emery (R – Lamar) published statements Friday criticizing multiple aspects of the recent Supreme Court ruling that effectively legalized marriage between same-sex couples.
The conservatives decried what they saw as judicial activism on the part of the Supreme Court in redefining marriage and overreach by Governor Jay Nixon in his implementation of executive order to ensure that the Supreme Court’s ruling is enforced in the state.
Onder argued that the decision flew in the face of religious freedoms within the state.
“In the Legislature we must do all we can to secure the freedom of religion and conscience rights of our churches, our pastors, and all Missourians,” Onder wrote.
The primary target of Onder’s statement was Gov. Nixon, who issued executive order 15-04 Tuesday ordering all state departments, agencies, commissions and governing bodies to comply with the ruling. Currently, two counties in the state have not begun issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Most notably, Schuyler County Recorder of Deeds Linda Blessing has refused to issue them based on religious convictions, an act Onder called a protest.
“The tradition of civil disobedience is a long and revered one,” he said Friday. “Linda Blessing is definitely conducting an act of civil disobedience against what she sees as an unjust ruling by the court… I wish her well.”
Two Laclede County judges have also decided to stop marrying all couples, gay and straight.
From a legislative perspective, Onder believes the state could do a few things to ensure the decision does not infringe upon citizen’s First Amendment rights.
“Certainly one thing we need to do is make sure that MONA (Missouri Nondiscrimination Act) does not pass,” he said. “It’s MONA-like ordinances in other states that have resulted in bakers and wedding photographers being sued because they refuse to violate their conscience and participate in same-sex weddings.”
Onder also suggested that Missouri follow in Texas’ footsteps and pass a statute that would guarantee religious institutions and figures like churches and pastors were not legally obliged to marry same-sex couples.
Emery went even further than Onder, calling for the impeachment of over half of the Supreme Court.
“The question we must ask is whether this violation of their oath to support the Constitution of the United States justifies impeachment of five Supreme Court judges,” Emery wrote. “I believe it should.”
Sen. Roy Blunt (R – Mo.) however offered a bit more muted response Wednesday, saying that while he saw the Supreme Court’s ruling as definitive and would not attempt to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, he would look for ways to ensure religious institutions did not have anything to fear from the ruling.