The Jackson County Republican Party in Missouri has voted down a motion to censure a gay GOP politician over his pro-marriage equality proposal, but he still may be censured down the line.
State Rep. Chris Sander, a Republican whose district is in the Kansas City suburbs, had introduced an amendment to the Missouri constitution that would define marriage as the union of “two individuals” rather than “a man and a woman,” The Kansas City Starreports.
Missouri amended its constitution to ban same-sex marriage in 2004. The ban is unenforceable due to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, establishing marriage equality nationwide, but it remains part of the state constitution. Sander’s amendment would bring the document in line not only with the Supreme Court decision but with the Respect for Marriage Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden last year, writing marriage equality into federal law.
Dave Thomas, a member of the Jackson County Republican Committee, had proposed censuring Sander. “Marriage is valid as defined only between one man and one woman according to nature and nature’s God, and this truth is held by us to be self-evident and unalienable,” Thomas’s resolution read in part, according to the Star. It also said any party member who seeks to define marriage otherwise should be censured.
But committee members meeting Monday night ruled the resolution out of order. It is outside the committee’s responsibilities, Chair Mark Anthony Jones told the Star. Jones is a gay man as well, and he says he is the first out gay elected Republican Party county chair in the nation, having held the position since 2014.
Sander said, however, that the party is forming a separate committee to consider censuring him. “I think I’m doing the right thing,” he told the paper. “If the party is lagging behind me, I need to be patient. But I have no patience, so I will continue trying to move forward.”
Sander was first elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 2020 and was reelected last year. While supporting marriage equality, he takes typical Republican stances on other issues. “Chris Sander is a MAGA Republican and President Trump campaign advocate since 2012,” his campaign website says. “Chris will prioritize keeping taxes low and government small while supporting small businesses. As a defender of ALL our Constitutional rights, Chris will protect the unborn, respect the 2nd Amendment and halt illegal immigration.”