Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed an executive order July 7 directing all state agencies to ensure compliance with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which established a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.
“This ruling is good for families, it’s good for our communities, and it’s good for business too,” said Nixon, “as shown by the hundreds of companies, including many in the state of Missouri, who urged the court to legalize same-sex marriage to help them compete worldwide.”
Since 2004, when the state voted to prohibit same-sex marriage, Nixon said, “we’ve come a long way in a short time.”
He attributed much of the change in opinion to a generational shift. “Younger folks not burdened with these prejudices have moved the needle forward.”
He also said the state’s announcement to ensure compliance with the court’s decision “is grounded in respect and love.” Nixon went on to say that he has been married for 28 years and that he hoped all same-sex married couples in Missouri will enjoy the same happiness in their marriages as he has enjoyed in his.
PROMO, Missouri’s statewide organization advocating for LGBT equality issued this statement about the executive order.
“We are grateful for Gov. Nixon’s leadership in recognizing the rights of LGBT Missourians and we look forward to working with him and his administration to fully implement marriage equality across the state. The Supreme Court’s landmark decision is a watershed moment for equality, but there is still much more work to do to,” stated A.J. Bockelman, executive director for PROMO. “PROMO will continue to work with Gov. Nixon and the legislature to adopt nondiscrimination policies, ensure that our transgender friends and family have access to the services they need, and prioritize additional community needs.”
Nixon said he hoped the Supreme Court decision would also make it easier to pass the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act, protecting LGBT citizens in employment, housing and public accommodations.
The Rev. Leroy Glover of the Pentecostal Church of God in Christ in Kansas City spoke to the governor after his remarks and said many in his community do not support same-sex marriage.
Glover said that he assumed that there were many same-sex couples or LGBT people in the room, which was full of local LGBT leaders, local and state politicians, and community members. He continued: “People of faith do not hate you. It’s not about hate at all. It’s got nothing to do with it. But we do honor our God and we honor his word. It’s as simple as that. We love you, but we fear him. We love you but we love God more.”
Nixon replied, “This is about state government making sure that people’s rights are protected. It is not designed to affect people’s freedom of religion.”