Jackson County will not challenge an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit over same-sex marriage.
“It’s not our issue. It’s a state of Missouri issue,” County Executive Mike Sanders said Monday.
Two same-sex couples who say they were denied marriage licenses in Kansas City are challenging the Missouri’s constitutional ban on gay marriage. The lawsuit filed by ACLU attorneys contends that Missouri’s constitutional provision limiting marriage to one man and one woman violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the U.S. Constitution.
Sanders added that he believes Missouri’s constitutional amendment, adopt by voters 10 years ago, violates the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and a statement released by his office noted that judges across the country have been ruling along similar lines for several months.
Lawsuits have been filed across the country with increasing success in lower courts. Last week, a U.S. appeals court panel in Denver ruled that states cannot prevent gay couples from marrying – a decision that could take the issue one step closer to being decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Court records show that the Missouri ACLU lawsuit was filed last Tuesday in Jackson County Circuit Court.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said he personally supports gay marriage, but he said he is compelled to defend the state constitution.