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Courts - USA - Missouri Bans Gay Marriage

JEFFERSON CITY, MO - Voters in Missouri have approved, by a margin of approximately 65% to 35%, an amendment to their state constitution which prohibits the recognition of same sex marriages. The campaign against the amendment was waged by Constitutional Defense League, which raised $450,000 in just two and one-half months, airing television ads and fielding scores of volunteers across the state. Other progressive groups in Missouri, including the ACLU of Missouri and Planned Parenthood, also fought against the measure.

The state's major newspapers - St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis Business Journal, Kansas City Star, Columbia Missourian, and Springfield News Leader -and the mayors of St. Louis and Kansas City all opposed the amendment.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force conducted field training in St. Louis in May, and contributed $25,500 to fight the amendment. The Human Rights Campaign also made significant contributions and provided four field staff to the campaign.

Matt Foreman, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, issued the following statement:

"While we are saddened by the vote, we are not surprised. Fundamental human rights should never be up for popular vote. Our founding fathers recognized this reality and enshrined our basic freedoms in the United States Constitution. Missouri's own past highlights the enduring value of the federal Constitution: until overturned by various United States Supreme Court decisions, Missouri law prohibited interracial marriage, criminalized abortion, and supported segregated schools.

Every gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender American owes a debt of gratitude to The Constitutional Defense League and its campaign manager Doug Gray for waging the largest campaign that our community has ever had in Missouri. Because of their work, newspapers across the state and hundreds of clergy came out in opposition to the amendment. Moreover, they accomplished so much with limited resources and in the face of a campaign marked by lies, distortions, fear-mongering, and threats of violence.

The good news is that more then one third of Missouri voters rejected this mean-spirited, un-American attack. Moreover, today's vote means that for every vote cast by a gay Missourian, another 6 non- gay people stood up for us. That is the truly inspiring story in this vote. (According to exit polls conducted over many years, approximately 5% of voters identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual.)

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