Missouri, along with more than 30 other states and five major religious groups have a message for the U.S. Supreme Court: Please, pretty please, make a decision on same-sex marriage.
Colorado is leading sixteen other states that ban gay marriage -- including Missouri -- by filing a brief with the nation's top court asking for a clear answer on gay marriage. Oklahoma, Virginia and Utah all have cases waiting for the Supreme Court's review, and Missouri has three cases pending in lower courts.
"There are scores of cases requiring thousands of hours to litigate the same legal question presented in this petition," the filing says. "These cases are divisive and costly, not only in terms of money and manpower, but in terms of respect for the democratic process and deliberation undertaken by millions of voters where the nature of marriage has recently been debated."
The brief to the Supreme Court doesn't ask the court to overturn bans on same-sex marriage. Rather, the brief simply asks for justices to hear a case on the issue and make a ruling.
Sixteen other states joined Missouri's brief: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Five religious institutions, including the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, which is based in Kirkwood, are joining the call for an answer by filing a friend-of-the-court brief asking the Supreme Court to hear a case filed by three gay couples in Utah.
"Legal uncertainty is especially burdensome for religious organizations and religious believers increasingly confronted with thorny questions," the brief says. "Is their right to refrain from participating in, recognizing or facilitating marriages between persons of the same sex, contrary to their religious convictions, adequately shielded by the First Amendment and other legal protections? Or is further legislation needed to guard religious liberties in these and other sensitive areas?"
In addition to the Lutheran church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Association of Evangelicals and the Ethics & Religious Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention joined the brief calling for an answer from the Supreme Court.
Three cases pending in Missouri courts could allow for a judge to rule that barring some couples from marriage is unconstitutional. Two same-sex couples are suing after Kansas City denied their applications for marriage. The ACLU is also suing for the recognition of marriages of eight same-sex couples married in other states.
And here in St. Louis, Attorney General Chris Koster is taking the recorder of deeds to court for signing four same-sex marriage licenses.
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