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Attorney General Ditches
Legal Defense of
Missouri Marriage Laws

 

Attorney General Chris Koster has decided to abandon his responsibilities as the state's chief legal officer on the most critical issue ever addressed by Missouri's court system.  Koster has decided his office will not appeal a ruling by a local circuit judge in Kansas City that nullifies Missouri's Marriage Amendment.

 

Last Friday, Jackson County Circuit Judge J. Dale Youngs ruled that the State of Missouri must recognize the same-sex unions of "couples" who claim they were legally "married" in other states and countries.  His decision neuters Missouri's constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.   Same-sex "couples" in Missouri will now simply schedule their "weddings" in Illinois, Iowa, or another state, and then return home as legally "married" Missourians.

  

Chris Koster announced late Monday that he is going to abrogate his duties and not appeal the decision of Judge Youngs to the Missouri Supreme Court.  By his inaction, the Attorney General is allowing a single outlaw judge in Kansas City to overturn the will of the 71% of Missourians who voted to preserve traditional marriage in 2004.  This is a wholesale dereliction of duty on the part of the Attorney General.  

 

Judge Youngs has issued an arrogant and abusive decision that violates Missouri's Constitution, Missouri state statutes, federal law, and U.S. Supreme Court precedent.  Yet the man charged with defending the rule of law in Missouri is now refusing to fulfill his legally prescribed duties.

 

Why is that?  Well, the answer is pretty simple.  Chris Koster badly wants to be elected as Missouri's next Governor.  It is an article of faith in his political party that any candidate for higher office must genuflect at the altar of the homosexual rights movement.  Koster has now done so in the most symbolic way possible.  He has decided that he is willing to discard the Constitution of our state to appease the "gay rights" movement and advance his own political aspirations.   

 

Koster says that his decision not to appeal the ruling is based on "principles of federalism," and that Missouri is bound to "honor contracts entered into in other states."  This is a false statement from both a public policy and legal standpoint, and Koster knows it.  The federal Defense of Marriage Act grants the state of Missouri the authority to decline to recognize out-of-state marital unions that do not reflect the historic definition of marriage.   The Supreme Court reiterated earlier this year that states and their citizens have the legal prerogative to define marriage as they choose, and that the federal government has no business intruding into those decisions.

 

Missouri state statutes declare that "the attorney general SHALL appear on behalf of the state in the court of appeals and in the supreme court and have the management of and represent the state in all appeals to which the state is a party..."  Yet Chris Koster has now decided that he will turn his back on his sworn public duty to further his personal political ambitions.   

Missouri State Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey assailed Koster's misconduct.  "The Attorney General is simply hiding behind thin legal justifications as he seeks to undermine the will of Missouri voters.  This ruling by one local judge stands in direct contradiction to our constitution which was approved by a statewide vote.  I urge Chris Koster to do his duty as the state's lawyer and defend the law the voters enshrined in our Constitution."

"If the Attorney General wants to substitute his own opinions in place of the clear will of the people, perhaps he should make his views a plank in his campaign for Governor," Dempsey added.  "However, at present he is still the Attorney General of our great state and as such he has a duty to defend the law as actually written, not as he wishes it to be."

Missouri Senate Majority Leader Ron Richard echoed Senator Dempsey's comments.  "Each state has the authority to establish laws governing the institution of marriage.  Missouri voters spoke loud and clear in 2004 by passing the constitutional amendment.  This issue should now be brought to the Missouri Supreme Court for their review of the lower court's decision.  To do that, we will need the support of our Attorney General."

Earlier this year, Koster made clear his support of redefining marriage to include same sex-unions.  Yet he said at the time that his job was to defend the law, whether he liked it or not.  Koster was quoted as saying:  "Missourians may have changed their sentiments on marriage equality, but they have yet to change their Constitution."

Well, Missourians still have not changed their Constitution, and no federal court has said they have to.  What has changed is the Attorney General's resolve to stand by his oath of office and do the job he swore before the citizens of this state he would do.  If Chris Koster is unwilling to keep his oath of office as the state's top lawyer, why should be be trusted to keep his oath of office in any other position of high office that calls for public integrity?

In announcing his decision to walk away from his official duties, Koster made a statement that sounds like a campaign slogan, rather than a comment of legal jurisprudence.  He said:  "Missouri's future will be one inclusion, not exclusion."  It would seem clear that what that means for the Attorney General is inclusion of his zealous pursuit of the Governor's Mansion, and exclusion of the Constitution he is sworn to defend.

This is a shameful moment in the history of our state, and the most shameless character in this sorry episode is the man who should be personifying the rule of law.  Presidents through the centuries have reaffirmed the statement made by Founding Father John Adams that we have "a government of laws, not of men."  But in the world of men like Judge J. Dale Youngs and Chris Koster, we are not a nation of laws, but a nation of men abusing power for their individual ends.

Thanks to them, the institution of marriage in Missouri has now been perverted in ways our God has called an abomination.  May God have mercy on our state and nation.          
10/8/14
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