Unlike Last Year, No Mention of LGBT Protections in Gov. Nixon's State of the State

Categories: LGBT, Politics

Governor Jay Nixon gives the State of the State address to the legislature.
In a year when President Barack Obama made history just for saying the word "transgender" in the State of the Union, Governor Jay Nixon made no mention of LGBT issues in Wednesday's State of the State address.

That's a change from last year, when Nixon specifically called on the Missouri Legislature to pass the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act, which protects LGBT people from being fired, evicted or refused service due to their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

"We need to end discrimination against LGBT Missourians in the workplace," Nixon said during last year's State of the State speech. "No Missourian should be fired because of who they are or who they love. Last year, the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act passed the Senate with bipartisan support but failed to get to my desk. Let's get it done this year."

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Michael Sam Gets Engaged to College Sweetheart Vito Cammisano: Reports

Categories: LGBT

Micahel Sam and Vito Cammisano in Rome, where they apparently decided to get hitched.
Michael Sam, the NFL's first openly gay player, and his longtime boyfriend Vito Cammisano are tying the knot.

Sam, who was drafted to the St. Louis Rams after a standout career with the University of Missouri, and Cammisano haven't officially announced their engagement, but some Instagram sleuthing from TMZ says the couple decided to make it official in Rome during a European vacation.

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LGBT Missourians Take Fight Against Workplace Discrimination to Legislature, Again

Categories: LGBT, Politics

Purple Sherbet Photography
LGBT couples may have the right to marry in (some parts of) Missouri, but they still aren't protected from being fired, evicted or refused service based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

That means an LGBT couple who weds on Sunday could end up jobless and homeless on Monday with no legal ramifications, all because of who they love or how they look.

The Missouri Legislature could change all that, but it hasn't. For fifteen years, the legislature has failed to pass the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of identities protected from employment and housing discrimination.

Now the battle is on to convince lawmakers, especially the 163 members of Missouri's House of Representatives, to grant those basic protections for LGBT Missourians before the clock runs out on yet another legislative session.

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Kansas City Police Apologize to Transgender Community After "Him/Her" Twitter Gaffe

Categories: LGBT

Purple Sherbet Photograph
LGBT equality is more than just marriage laws; it's also about language.
"Gender," "sex," "identity," "preference," "expression" -- those are a few relatively simple concepts critical to talking about LGBT issues.

"Him/Her" is not one of them.

That lesson was learned the hard way by one Kansas City Police Department employee on Friday while live-Tweeting a police stop of a female "possible prostitute."

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[PHOTOS] Women Who Met as Ferguson Protesters Marry at St. Louis City Hall

Categories: Ferguson, LGBT

All photos by Kelly Glueck
Brittany Ferrell says "yes" to Alexis Templeton.
Surrounded by turmoil in the streets of Ferguson, Alexis Templeton and Brittany Ferrell fell in love.

On Tuesday, the two University of Missouri-St. Louis students and activist leaders started to make their love official by getting engaged on the steps of St. Louis City Hall and applying for their marriage license. The couple says they're still planning their ceremony -- no surprise since Ferrell had only proposed the day before.

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GOP Leaders Try, Fail to Stop Missouri from Recognizing Gay Marriages

Categories: LGBT

House Speaker Tim Jones (L) and Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey.
Better luck next time, boys.

Missouri's Republican legislative leaders tried this month to stop the Show-Me State from recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states, such as Illinois, which expanded the right to marry more than a year ago.

Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, a Republican from St. Charles, and House Speaker Tim Jones, a Republican from Eureka, filed a motion to intervene in the Jackson County case Barrier v. Vasterling so they could take the case to the Missouri Supreme Court. Judge Dale Youngs ruled in that case in October that Missouri must recognize out-of-state gay marriages, giving those couples access to tax, insurance, veterans' and other benefits despite the Missouri's ten-year-old, voter-approved ban on same-sex marriages.

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Missouri Could Earn $39 Million By Keeping Same-Sex Marriage Legal

Categories: LGBT

Lindsay Toler
Sadie Pierce and Lilly Leyh were the first couple to officially marry in St. Louis after a judge struck down Missouri's ban on gay marriage.
If same-sex marriage stays legal in Missouri, wedding spending could funnel almost $39 million into the state economy.

That's according to a new study from financial site NerdWallet, whose analysts crunched the numbers to see how America's $51 billion wedding industry will expand as the right to marry spreads. Consumer spending on same-sex weddings would add up to more than $2.5 billion nationwide if gay marriage is legalized throughout the U.S., the study says.

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Same-Sex Marriage Supporters Ask Attorney General Not to Appeal Court Ruling

Categories: LGBT

Danny Wicentowski
Crystal Peairs and April Breeden kiss after marrying in the St. Louis City Hall rotunda Wednesday.
Newly married same-sex couples, clergy and other supporters will ask Attorney General Chris Koster today not to appeal a judge's ruling that says Missouri's ten-year-old ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.

More than 3,000 Missourians have signed a petition that asks Koster not to appeal so the state can, as the petition says, "put this ban to rest once and for all."

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St. Louis Lesbian Couple Gets Creepy Anonymous Letter After Wedding

Categories: LGBT

Danny Wicentowski
Kelley Harris and Kelly Barnard of St. Louis brought the whole family along with them to the Recorder of Deeds office.
After years of working at Planned Parenthood, Kelley Harris is trained to spot threat letters.

So when a letter with an incomplete return address arrived at the St. Louis home she shares with her new wife and their two children, Harris got suspicious.

"As soon as I saw it in the mail, I thought, 'Oh, this is probably a hate letter,'" Harris tells Daily RFT.

The anonymous, lengthy letter sent from Omar, West Virginia, and postmarked through Charleston, West Virginia, which was postmarked the day after Harris and Barnard married at St. Louis City Hall after a judge ruled Missouri's ten-year-old ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, appears to target the couple for their same-sex nuptials. Harris says she and her wife don't know anyone in West Virginia.

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Federal Judge Strikes Down Missouri's Same-Sex Marriage Ban, Attorney General Appealing

Categories: LGBT

RFT Street Team
A couple getting engaged at this year's PrideFest.

In a case involving two same-sex couples who tried to obtain their marriage licenses in Jackson County back in June, a federal judge declared today that Missouri's gay-marriage ban is unconstitutional.

This comes just days after a St. Louis circuit judge reached the same conclusion, resulting in marriage licenses being issued in both the city and county.

Marriage licenses were held up in other parts of Missouri, however, as a statewide organization of recorders deemed that the order from the circuit judge only applies to the city. This ruling, from U.S. District Court Judge Ortrie D. Smith, would seemingly put that debate to rest -- however the judge's order would not go into effect until any and all appeals have been exhausted.

Attorney General Chris Koster announced this morning that he does plan to appeal the ruling to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

"This is the third Missouri court to look at marriage exclusion in the last month and the third court to find that it's unconstitutional under the 14th amendment. I think that's the big important thing that's happening here," said Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri. "I think it's a little less clear how this will play out in the next couple of days."

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