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Missouri Family E-News

December 2, 2014

         
Fire Chief Disciplined for Christian Convictions  

The fire chief in the city of Atlanta has been suspended without pay for a month because of his Christian beliefs about sexual morality.

Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran was taken to task by city officials for publishing a Christian book in which he urges readers to shun sexual misconduct.

The book, titled Who Told You That You Were Naked, urges men to be "world-changers" by being faithful husbands and fathers, and community and business leaders.

In the book, Cochran counsels against "uncleanness...which defiles the temple of the body and dishonors God."  Cochran speaks specifically about the sins of sex outside of marriage, sex with multiple partners, and sex with individuals of the same gender.

That portion of the book raised the ire of homosexual rights leaders, who demanded that city officials reprimand Cochran.

"I am deeply disturbed by the sentiments expressed in the book regarding the LGBT community," says Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.  "I will not tolerate discrimination of any kind in my administration."

"When you are a city employee, and your thoughts, beliefs, and opinions are different from the city's, you have to check them at the door," says Council member Alex Wan.

Chief Cochran is a deacon at Elizabeth Baptist Church in Atlanta.  The 30-day suspension will cost him approximately $14,000 in compensation.  He will also be required to undergo "sensitivity training."

You can send a note of support to Chief Cochran at this email address:
kjcochran@atlantaga.gov



Reflections
on Ferguson
and Fathers

The recent tragic events in Ferguson have prompted continuing commentary and debate from public personalities and private individuals all over the nation and the world.

We have been challenged by a reader of the Jeff City Update to do so as well, or be seen as insensitive to the hurt and harm being experienced by so many.

We have not leaped to make any formal statement on the sorry sequence of events, believing that there are too many factors that require thoughtful reflection and examination, and extended discussion. 

However, as we watched the jarring images from the turmoil in Ferguson, one sentiment predominated:  Sorrow for the cruel consequences of fatherlessness for so many troubled youth who are looking for inspiration, opportunity, and hope.

Like many others, we were highly impressed by the extraordinary comments offered by New Orleans Saints tight end Ben Watson.  He captures better than we could the observations we would want to express.

If you have not already read them, you can do so at this link: 
Ben Watson 

You can also read more about the consequences of fatherlessness at the following link.  Choose the "Research" menu item.
National Center for Fathering  

Please continue to pray as we are for understanding, insight, and an appreciation of the vital truth that we all need the discipline of a Loving Father.   
 
  

Listen to the Broadcast Version of the Jeff City Update online at 
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Missouri Legislators
Go to Court to Defend State Marriage Laws
 
The legislative leaders of the Missouri General Assembly have gone to court to defend the institution of marriage in Missouri.   Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey and House Speaker Tim Jones have filed a motion in Jackson County Circuit Court seeking to intervene in a crucial legal challenge to Missouri's marriage laws.

In that case, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of ten homosexual "couples" who claim they were "married" in other states and countries.  In their lawsuit, known as Barrier v. Vasterling, the ACLU demanded that the State of Missouri recognize these out-of-state "marriages" as valid in Missouri.

Jackson County Circuit Judge J. Dale Youngs ruled in early October in favor of the plaintiffs, pontificating that Missouri's laws defining traditional marriage violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.  In so doing, Judge Youngs struck down both Missouri's Marriage Amendment and Missouri's Defense of Marriage Act.

The Missouri Marriage Amendment was adopted by state voters in August of 2004 by a resounding vote of 71 to 29 percent.  It declares that "to be valid and recognized in this state, a marriage shall only exist between a man and a woman. "

Missouri's Defense of Marriage Act was first adopted by the Missouri Legislature in 1996.  It states 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 a subsequent shocking development, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced he was abandoning his duties as the state's chief legal officer, and refusing to appeal Judge Youngs' reckless decision to the Missouri Supreme Court.  Senator Dempsey and Representative Jones are now seeking to intervene in the case on behalf of the General Assembly in order to appeal Judge Youngs' decision in Koster's absence.

Senator Dempsey, Speaker Jones, and incoming Speaker John Diehl had sent a letter to Koster on November 7th, urging him to fulfill his sworn duties on behalf of Missouri citizens.  Ten days later, Koster replied that he would persist in his dereliction of duty in defiance of the will of Missouri voters.

In their motion, the legislators state that "the well-being of marriage as a social institution in Missouri has been uniquely entrusted to the General Assembly...the General Assembly has a significant interest as a governmental employer in adhering to its constitutional and statutory duty to apply the State's marriage laws as enacted."

The motion also accuses the Attorney General of "acting arbitrarily and capriciously" by refusing to file an appeal in the case.  The legislators went further to state that Koster's "legal strategy seems calculated to undermine the General Assembly's interests in defending the challenged marriage laws."

"The General Assembly has a significant interest as the state's legislative body, and as the author of the challenged laws, to ensure that the state's marriage laws are adequately defended in court," the motion continues.  The motion also points out the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled previously that a "State Legislature and its authorized representatives have the authority to defend the constitutionality of a statute" when a state attorney general refuses.
Judge Youngs' brazen decision not only stands in contradiction to Missouri's Constitution and statutes, but federal law and federal court precedent as well.  His arrogant ruling violates the U.S. Defense of Marriage Act, which remains the law of the land in our country.  That law makes clear that states may decline to recognize marital unions from other states that are not consistent with their own laws.

Judge Youngs also defied U.S. Supreme Court precedent which was recently reaffirmed by the High Court in the Windsor decision.  In that case, the Supreme Court stated once again that the regulation of domestic relations has always been regarded as "the virtually exclusive province of the states."

"By history and tradition the definition and regulation of marriage...has been treated as being within the authority and realm of the states...The Constitution delegated no authority to the Government of the United States on the subject of marriage and divorce," the High Court wrote.

The most dishonest element of Judge Youngs' fraudulent ruling is his refusal to even acknowledge a binding decision from the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on the subject.  In the 2006 case of Citizens for Equal Protection v. Bruning, the 8th Circuit ruled unequivocally that states do not violate the federal Equal Protection Clause when they define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

If the dictatorial ruling from Judge Youngs is not overturned, it will have a highly damaging impact on marriage and family life in Missouri.  Same-sex individuals will simply travel to adjacent states for "wedding" ceremonies, and then return home to Missouri as legally "married" partners.

In the time since Judge Youngs' decision, another state judge and a federal judge have ruled that Missouri must redefine marriage to include same-sex unions.  Should those decisions be overturned, but Judge Youngs' ruling remain in place, Missouri would in effect still be a state with so-called same-sex "marriage."

In their motion, the legislators point out that Judge Youngs himself states in his opinion that he did not expect his ruling to be the final verdict on the issue.  "The Court assumes that the Missouri Supreme Court will have an opportunity to provide the last word on all of the important legal issues in this case." 

Senator Dempsey and Speaker Jones are now trying to make sure that happens, and we are extremely grateful for their courageous efforts to protect the sacred institution of marriage from those who would pervert its meaning, nature, and purpose.  This is an unusual and highly significant step for these legislators to take, and it could not come at a more critical time.  Should Judge Youngs refuse to allow the legislators to intervene on behalf of the General Assembly, that action is in itself appealable to the Missouri Supreme Court. 

We are grateful to Kansas City attorney Michael Whitehead, who is representing the legislators in this intervention motion.  Please be praying for his efforts as this matter proceeds.

We also encourage you to contact these legislative leaders and thank them for standing up for marriage.  Their phone numbers are as follows:

Senator Tom Dempsey:  (573) 751-1141
Speaker Tim Jones:  (573) 751-0562
Speaker-designate John Diehl:  (573) 751-1544

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