Amendment to Missouri constitution protecting tradtitional marriage likely
By Allen Palmeri
March 16, 2004
|Majority Floor Leader Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau speaking before the Missouri legislature.|
JEFFERSON CITY – Voters will have the opportunity Nov. 2 to amend the Missouri Constitution so that it defines marriage as being between one man and one woman, according to House Majority Floor Leader Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau.
“This is going to happen," Crowell said.
The Senate on March 1 passed a measure 26-6 that would put the issue on the state-wide November ballot. The House is certain to concur, Crowell said. All that remains is determining the language.
“It’s just how far and how deep do we want to go in protecting the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman in the state of Missouri," he said.
Representatives want to go farther and deeper than senators who have boiled it down to a 20-word sentence: “That to be valid and recognized in this state, a marriage shall exist only between a man and a woman."
Rep. Kevin Engler (left), R-Farmington and Rep. Brian Baker (right), R-Belton, also sponsors of the House version of the bill, want the language to address the growing number of "marriages" that are being conducted in states like Oregon, California, Illinois, and New York.
Crowell, Rep. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, Rep. Brian Baker, R-Belton and Rep. Jim Avery, R-Crestwood all sponsors of the House version of the bill, want the language to address the growing number of homosexual “marriages" that are being conducted in states like Oregon, California, Illinois and New York.
“Four heads are better than one," Crowell said. “We’ll continue to go forward."
House Republican leaders have determined that Engler will carry a resolution written by Crowell to the House floor. That language is as follows: “Article XIV, Marriage, Section 1. Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman, and no license to marry shall be issued except to a man and a woman. Marriage between persons of the same sex, and full faith and credit of such marital status entered into in another state, shall not be recognized as marriage."
Crowell, an attorney, said that he is willing to fight for his language.
“I have two concerns, but they’re not fatal concerns," he said. “The Senate’s language does not create a new section within the ( Missouri ) Constitution that specifically highlights marriage. My amendment has a clear title, ‘Marriage,’ and then defines it between a man and a woman.
“The second thing is, much of what’s driving this debate is not what’s going on in Missouri , but what’s going on in California , Oregon , Illinois and Massachusetts in recognizing gay ‘marriages.’ Under the full faith and credit clause of the United States Constitution, there is an issue of whether or not Missouri will be forced to recognize a Massachusetts same-sex ‘marriage.’ I have gone to the (greatest) degree of including another sentence that basically says irrespective of whatever Massachusetts, California, Oregon, Illinois or any other state does, Missouri will not give full faith and credit to those ‘marriages’ for recognition purposes."
Engler’s job is to lead the resolution home.
“They feel I can unite the people and try and get them focused on what we need to try to do," he said.
The proposed constitutional amendment could be taken up by the House as soon as March 18, Engler said, but is more likely to be considered “the first part of April." Engler intends to carry the measure nobly.
“I don’t wish to condemn anyone," he said. “Even though we disagree on this issue, we can do so in a manner that doesn’t personally attack. We’re going to try to do that."
Crowell’s job as majority floor leader is to make sure that he delivers a direct and efficient constitutional amendment to Missouri ’s voters.
Watching from the other chamber will be Sen. Sarah Steelman, R-Rolla. It is her resolution that Crowell would like to change.
“We’ll just have to work out those differences with the Senate, which is what we’re doing, and in no way—in no way—will those small differences derail our efforts to get a constitutional definition of marriage as between a man and a woman to the Missouri voters," Crowell said.