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Missouri Family E-News

May 6, 2014

State Judge Says OK to Same-Sex "Divorce"       


A judge in Boone County has granted a "divorce" to a same-sex couple who claim that they were "married" out of state.


Two women named Dena and Samantha filed the action in Boone County Circuit Court.  They contended they were "married" in Massachusetts in 2009, but were now seeking a legal separation. 


Judge Leslie Schneider issued the ruling last month, saying that her action was necessary to provide "equitable relief," and to keep the state from "running afoul of its due process obligations."   


This is a specious claim, since the Missouri Constitution and state statutes prohibit recognition of same-sex unions.  Before a Missouri court can grant a legal divorce, there first must be a marriage that is legal in Missouri.


Article I, Section 33 of Missouri's Constitution states "that to be valid and recognized in this state, a marriage shall exist only between a man and a woman."   


This constitutional language, known as the Missouri Marriage Amendment, was approved by Missouri voters in August of 2009 by a margin of 71 to 29 percent.


Missouri state statutes also spell out that "any purported marriage not between a man and a woman is invalid."  The statutes also declare that "a marriage between persons of the same sex will not be recognized for any purpose in this state even when valid where contracted."


That language, known as the Defense of Marriage Act, was enacted into law by the Missouri Legislature in 1996.


The Jackson County Circuit Court is considering a lawsuit filed by the ACLU which would compel the State of Missouri to acknowledge same-sex unions of couples who claim they were "married" in another state or country.


The Missouri Attorney General's Office is defending the constitutionality of the Missouri Marriage Amendment in that case.      


Chicago Area Woman Held in Case of Infanticide 

A Chicago woman is facing a first-degree murder charge in an apparent case of infanticide.  Chicago police say the woman abandoned her child because the infant resembled her former boyfriend.

18 year-old Ana Rosa Mora is facing murder charges after she allegedly stuffed here newborn son in a plastic Walmart bag and left him to die in a gangway near her home in the Logan Square neighborhood. 

Police say the body of the baby boy was discovered by a construction worker.  A medical examiner says the child died of asphyxiation. 

Police say Mora denied that the child was hers, but later confessed that she left her son in the gangway following a live birth. 

Prosecutors claim Mora told police she disposed of the child when she realized he resembled her ex-boyfriend, who was indeed the father of the child.

Mora says she was concerned that her current boyfriend would recognize the child's resemblance to her old boyfriend, and would put an end to their relationship.

Listen to the Broadcast Version of the Jeff City Update online at 

Common Core Debate Enters Final Hours
in MO Legislature

The fate of the controversial Common Core educational standards in Missouri will largely be determined in the next two weeks as the Missouri General Assembly closes out its 2014 legislative session.

Legislation designed to repeal, phase out, replace, or modify the Common Core curriculum standards has gained surprising momentum during this year's legislative proceedings, which will come to an end when the General Assembly adjourns on May 16th.

Senator John Lamping of St. Louis County and Representative Kurt Bahr of O'Fallon have been leading legislative proponents of scrapping the Common Core initiative in Missouri.  Opponents of Common Core object to the implementation of uniform national educational standards, support local control of public schools, and resist social indoctrination in public education.

Last week the Missouri Senate adopted a revised version of House Bill 1490, the proposal introduced in the Missouri House by Representative Bahr.  Senator Ed Emery of Lamar, who handled Representative Bahr's bill in that chamber, offered a Senate Substitute.  Numerous amendments were adopted, and the revised bill, adopted on a 23-9 vote, now goes to a high-profile conference committee.

Under the latest version of the bill, the State Board of Education would be required to appoint work groups of "education professionals" by October 1st of this year.  The work groups, composed of 16 to 21 members, would be charged with developing new statewide academic performance standards.  Eight different work groups would be convened covering the subject areas of English language arts, mathematics, science, and history and governments.

Work group members would include representatives from teachers' organizations, school boards, and school administrators.  Legislative leaders, the governor, and the lieutenant governor would also make appointments.  Each work group would include four parents of students currently enrolled in the public schools.

The work groups would be required to submit their recommended standards to the State Board of Education by October 1st, 2015.  The State Board would then be required to adopt and implement academic performance standards effective for the 2016-2017 school year.

Senator Lamping says that the latest proposal ensures that a deliberative process will occur in formulating the standards.  "Among the greatest concerns with Common Core is the fact that the process used to adopt it was less than transparent.  This legislation provides the framework for an open process to occur that allows everyone from education professionals to parents an opportunity to weigh in."

Regardless of the collective work product of the work groups, the State Board of Education could still choose to re-implement the Common Core standards or the same standards under a different name.  "There is nothing to prohibit the exact same standards the bill was designed to reject," said Senator Ryan Silvey of Clay County. 

Senator Silvey offered an amendment to explicitly prohibit adoption of the Common Core standards.  The amendment was rejected on a 29-2 vote, with only Senator Mike Parson joining Silvey in calling for absolute exclusion of the Common Core initiative.

While supporters of the current bill hold very different opinions regarding educational purposes and instructional practices, they share one common philosophy.  Missouri educational standards should be homegrown, developed by Missouri educational leaders for Missouri students.  There is broad disdain for the arbitrary manner in which Common Core standards were established in Missouri.

The State Board of Education voted in 2009 to implement the Common Core initiative in Missouri.  The decision by the Board followed unilateral action by Governor Jay Nixon to enlist Missouri in the Common Core national consortium.  The Common Core standards were pioneered by the National Governors Association in concert with the Council of Chief State School Officers.  Critics have railed against the competency and credibility of private parties who have formulated the academic performance benchmarks.

A key provision in the bill which has been little discussed would further restrict the powers of state education authorities.  It would prohibit either the State Board of Education or the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education from "mandating the curriculum, textbooks, or other instructional materials to be used in public schools."  Local school boards would have the exclusive authority to determine the curriculum to be used by their respective school districts.

Senator Emery says the struggle over Common Core is really a debate about educational freedom.  "Our children are individuals, not just members of a group or data set.  Under Common Core, we are all going to be alike with one set of textbooks, one publisher, one testing agency, and eventually one curriculum."

"Public education should have purpose and promote purpose, not just create products and robots.  Common Core will tell a generation of Americans what to think, not teach them how to think for themselves," Senator Emery concludes.
You can let your state senator and state representative know your views concerning the Common Core debate by using the links below.

Your state representative can be contacted using this link:
Your State Representative

Your state senator can be contacted using this link:
Your State Senator

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