Senator Richard comments on Supreme Court ruling
June 26, 2015
JEFFERSON CITY— Today, the U.S. Supreme Court announced the latest in a series of opinions that expand the reach of the federal government into areas historically within the domain of individual states.

The Court’s ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges opines that the federal government has the power to determine the essential nature of marriage in all 50 states, notwithstanding the decisions of citizens in those states as approved by voters in law and in their own state constitutions.

“This decision has strong bearing on the ability of the citizens of our state to establish by public vote the social constructs under which they will live,” said Senate Leader Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles. “In 2004, the citizens of our state voted overwhelmingly to put into the Missouri Constitution a definition of marriage that reflected the history and traditions of Western civilization for centuries. Now, a handful of lawyers in Washington, D.C. have decided that they know better and that citizens are incapable of determining such important questions under their own state laws and constitutions.”

In 2004, by more than a 70 percent margin, voters approved a change to the Missouri Constitution, stating that “to be valid and recognized in this state a marriage shall exist only between a man and a woman.”

“We are deeply concerned about the ripple effects of this decision. Will certain religious organizations and people of many different faiths now have to choose between violating their deeply held beliefs or risk being dragged into court?” said Majority Floor Leader Ron Richard, R-Joplin. “The Constitution of the United States which every member of the Supreme Court is sworn to uphold specifically reserves powers not explicitly given to the federal government to the individual states. Elections have consequences. We can have majorities in both Chambers, but until we get a president who will appoint Supreme Court Justices who will fight for states’ rights, we will be left with insufficient authority.”

“It is ironic to note that in the Court’s rush to unearth a Constitutional right to redefine marriage (heretofore undiscovered by the scores of eminent jurists who preceded them) they have blindly stumbled over the plain meaning of the First Amendment which guarantees every citizen the freedom to exercise their religion according to the dictates of their own conscience,” said Dempsey. “Perhaps the Court should spend more time reading our nation’s sacred founding document and less time reading the newspaper in an attempt to gauge public opinion.”

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