Joe Ortwerth's
 Jeff City Update
Missouri Family E-News April 13, 2009
Block Religious Freedom Amendment
A proposed constitutional amendment to protect the religious liberties of Missouri citizens has run aground in the Missouri Senate.  Senate Joint Resolution 12, sponsored by Senator Delbert Scott of Lowry City, encountered a filibuster staged by Senators Jolie Justus of Kansas City and Senator Joan Bray of St. Louis.  The bill was set aside, and is unlikely to be taken up again without a willingness by the Senate to overcome the filibuster.  Should the Senate fail to act on the religious liberty proposal, it will be the fourth straight year this important proposal will have died in that body.  The Missouri House has passed the amendment three consecutive years, and is likely to do so again this session.  The House version, House Joint Resolution 11, is sponsored by Representative Mike McGhee of Odessa. The religious liberty amendment is designed to protect the rights of Missouri citizens and schoolchildren to pray and acknowledge God in the public arena.  Organizations like the ACLU and the Americans United for Separation of Church and State continue to wage a campaign to stifle religious expression in the public square.  The amendment would clarify the rights of Missourians to pray on a voluntary basis in schools and other public settings, and to acknowledge God in public proceedings.  This is the second time in recent weeks that Senators Justus and Bray have filibustered legislation of importance to Missouri families.  The other bill they filibustered was the ultrasound legislation strongly supported by the pro-life community.  Please contact your state senator and encourage them to take up and pass Senate Joint Resolution 12.  Please also thank Senator Scott and Representative McGhee for their leadership on behalf of the Christian community.  Senator Scott's e-mail address is delbertscott@senate.mo.gov  Representative McGhee's e-mail address is mike.mcghee@house.mo.gov   You can find contact information for your state senator by clicking this link: www.senate.mo.gov
Pro-Abortion Group to "Honor"
State Legislator 
A Missouri state legislator is receiving an award from a pro-abortion organization for her "personal and professional contributions to reproductive justice."  Representative
Jeanette Mott Oxford of St. Louis is being "honored" by an organization calling themselves "Faith Aloud."    The group, formerly known as the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, includes "ministers" who work in concert with the abortion industry to offer a supposed spiritual defense of abortion.   The awards banquet is being held for the second year in a row at the Orlando Gardens Banquet Center in south St. Louis County.  Former State Senator Maida Coleman and Planned Parenthood Vice-President Allison Gee are also being recognized at the event.  Please be praying for Representative Oxford that she will realize that God does not smile on those who destroy innocent children in the womb, and that receiving an award from allies of the abortion industry is nothing to be proud of.  You can let Orlando Gardens know of your disappointment with their continuing sponsorship of this event by e-mailing them at morlando@orlandogardens.com 
Thank You for Reading Our Newsletter
The purpose of the Jeff City Update is to provide you valuable information about issues and people in state government from a Christian values perspective.  This information equips you to be an active and engaged Christian citizen in communicating your concerns to your elected representatives.  It also helps you focus your prayers on specific people who need intercession, and specific subjects that call for God's manifold grace and mercy. 
We hope you find the Jeff City Update to be informative and instructive.  Should you have any questions or comments, please contact us by e-mail at info@missourifamily.org,
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How Safe is Missouri from Homosexual "Marriage?"
Now that the Iowa Supreme Court has invented a constitutional right for homosexuals to claim that they are legally "married" to each other, many Missourians are asking whether such a thing could happen in our state.  The short answer is this:  The chance that state judges would mandate homosexual "marriage" in Missouri is slim.  The chance that federal courts would do so is substantial over the long term.
Iowa becomes the fourth state in the country where a state supreme court has perverted the meaning and legal status of marriage by dictating so-called same-sex "marriage."  Massachusetts, Connecticut, and California had done so previously, though the voters in California reversed the court's action through a constitutional amendment.  Vermont this past week became the first state where a State Legislature enacted a law ordering the issuance of "marriage" licenses to same-sex "couples." 
Missouri is fortunate that voters adopted an amendment to our State Constitution in August of 2004 protecting traditional marriage.  That amendment, approved by 71% of Missouri voters, states that the only marriages that are valid or can be recognized in Missouri are those between a man and a woman. Thus, the only way that a state court could order same-sex "marriage" in our state would be if it ignored the plain meaning of the Constitution.  While this is conceivable, it is highly unlikely.  The language also makes it virtually impossible for a state court to recognize a so-called same-sex "marriage" from another state.
State statutes adopted by the Missouri Legislature in 1996 and 2001 reinforce the protections for traditional marriage.  Section 451.022 states that "it is the public policy of this state to recognize marriage only between a man and a woman."  It further declares that "any purported marriage between a man and a woman is invalid," and that no recorder of deeds shall issue a marriage license except to a man and a woman.  Finally, it provides that "a marriage between persons of the same sex will not be recognized for any purpose in this state even when valid where contracted," in other words, even if it was valid in another state.
The danger to traditional marriage in Missouri would most likely come from the federal judiciary.  Any U.S. District Court Judge could strike down a state's laws limiting marriage to a man and a woman, and by virtue of that action, call into question every state's laws on the subject.  If a federal appellate court upheld that decision, and ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court did the same, homosexual "marriage" would be forced on all 50 states.  This is the manner in which legalized abortion was established in our country, first with decisions in Texas and Georgia, and then ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions.
While it would not appear that the current U.S. Supreme Court would create a constitutional right to so-called "gay marriage," an appointment or two to the High Court by President Obama could easily change that.
Sadly, our neighbors in Iowa are in the worst possible circumstance.   When the California Supreme Court redefined marriage, the voters were able to mount a successful initiative petition drive to reverse the court's action.  Iowa has no such referendum process.  The only way to amend the Constitution in Iowa is through legislative action.  The Legislature must pass a constitutional amendment in two consecutive legislative sessions.  That means the Legislature must pass an amendment in the 2009-2010 legislative session, and again in the 2011-2012 legislative session. 
Thus, the earliest Iowa voters will be able to amend their Constitution will be 2012.  That means there will be a minimum of four years of homosexual "marriage" in Iowa. 
During that time, it is inevitable that homosexual "couples" will get "married" in Iowa and move to Missouri and then demand that their "marriages" be accorded legal status.  For the reasons described above, a state court could not legitimately grant such status.  However, the concern would be that a federal court would order Missouri to respect such "marriages."
Right now, that would seem to be out of bounds due to the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  That law, enacted  by Congress in 1996, says that "no state...shall be required to give effect to any public act...of any other state...respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex...or a right or claim arising from such relationship."
However, President Obama has declared his intention to work to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, branding it as "abhorrent" and "divisive."  If Congress were to repeal DOMA, federal courts would likely order the recognition of out-of-state same-sex "marriages" under the "full faith and credit" clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Aside from the legal issues, the entrenchment of homosexual "marriage" in Iowa has the most disturbing implications for Missouri and all of the Midwest.  There are few things, if any, more corrupting of the social mores of a culture than the glorification of homosexuality.  There is nothing more damaging to the welfare of current and future generations of children than the destruction of traditional marriage and the traditional family.
Please be praying fervently for the members of the Legislature in Iowa, that they will have the courage to stand tall and stand firm in defense of the bedrock institution of marriage.  Please be praying for the people of Iowa, that they will rise up in defense of the Biblical design of the family. 
Please also thank God that we live in a state where our legislators demonstrated the moral integrity to preserve traditional marriage.  We should also be thankful to pro-family leaders like Vicky Hartzler, Kerry Messer, and Bev Ehlen, who all worked hard in the campaign to pass Missouri's marriage amendment.  They all deserve our gratitude and the many blessings God promises to those who thirst for righteousness.
For more information about the national battle to protect traditional marriage, go to the website of the National Organization for Marriage at www.nationformarriage.org
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