JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A Missouri legislator has introduced a bill that would make it illegal for the state to enforce a marriage other than between a man and a woman and allow for the firing of government employees who issue same-sex marriage licenses. 
SB 555 was introduced by Sen. Ed Emery (R-Lamar) on Thursday:
This act provides that the state shall not enforce a marriage other than a marriage between a man and a woman. Additionally, no state or local taxpayer funds or state or local government employee salaries shall be dispersed for an activity that includes the licensing or support of a marriage other than a marriage between a man and a woman. Any employee of the state or any political subdivision or instrumentality of the state who willfully and knowingly violates the provisions of this act may be terminated and shall no longer receive any salary, employee benefits, or retirement benefits, except that the employee may request a refund of the employee's retirement contributions plus interest.
"I was disappointed that a bill like this has been introduced this year," said Kyle Piccola, Senior Field Organizer for PROMO, Missouri's statewide LGBT advocacy organization. "Even after three judges in Missouri ruled in favor of marriage equality, some members of the legislature are grasping to stop the inevitable from happening.
"It is a powerful message that anti-LGBT sentiment still exists and reinforces PROMO's commitment to maintaining a powerful and strategic voice in Jefferson City," Piccola said. 
Same-sex marriage licenses are currently being issued in St. Louis City, St. Louis County and Jackson County, Missouri following back-to-back state and federal court decisions declaring Missouri's 2004 ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. In Oct. 2014, a Missouri court decision recognized same-sex marriages performed in other states. 
Both the St. Louis Circuit Court and Kansas City U.S. District Court decisions have been appealed by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster to the State Supreme Court and 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, respectively. Koster, a Democrat who supports marriage equality but says it is his job to defend state laws, did not appeal the earlier Jackson County Circuit Court decision recognizing out of state same-sex marriages.
"Denying a couple the right to get married is denying their right to spend their lives with the person they deeply love; the right to protect and care for their family, in the same way all couples should be able to do," added Stephanie Perkins, PROMO Deputy Director. "Denying them that denies the dignity and respect that the government should give to all of its people." 
Emery's bill comes on the heels of a Senate Education Committee's hearing of twin bills (SB-248 and SB-311) on Wednesday, which would make it legal for Christian college groups to discriminate against LGBT students on Missouri campuses. Similar legislation has been introduced in the Missouri House. 
PROMO's annual Equality Day lobbying event will be held on Tuesday, April 22 at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City. 

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