Missouri Governor Jay Nixon issued an executive order Tuesday, requiring all of the state’s agencies to comply with last month's U.S. Supreme Court decision ensuring marriage equality in all 50 states.
"This landmark ruling was a historic step forward for our nation, and it has some very real benefits for families here in Missouri," said Nixon Tuesday at a news conference in Kansas City, as reported by Boom Magazine, a Missouri LGBT news outlet.
"As Governor, I’m committed to protecting the rights of all Missourians, and that’s why this morning I am signing Executive Order 15-04 to ensure the Supreme Court’s ruling is implemented uniformly throughout state government."
Nixon also called for lawmakers to pass the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act, reported Kansas City, Mo. TV station WDAF. The measure would ban discrimination of LGBT Missourians in employment, housing, and public accommodations.
“Same-sex couples now have the right to get married, but here in Missouri, individuals can still be fired for being gay. That’s wrong, it’s not who we are — and it must change,” said the governor.
The executive order by Nixon, a Democrat, includes a mandate for all government agencies in Missouri to update the necessary forms, and for operating procedures to be fully inclusive.
“We are grateful for Gov. Nixon's leadership in recognizing the rights of LGBT Missourians and we look forward to working with him and his administration to fully implement marriage equality across the state," said A.J. Bockelman, Executive Director of PROMO, Missouri's statewide LGBT advocacy organization.
"The Supreme Court's landmark decision is a watershed moment for equality, but there is still much more work to do to," Bockelman told Boom. “PROMO will continue to work with Governor Nixon and the legislature to adopt nondiscrimination policies, ensure that our transgender friends and family have access to the services they need, and prioritize additional community needs.”
Although three separate court rulings had attempted to bring marriage equality to Missouri (including a judge's October ruling that ordered the state to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere), as of March, only three jurisdictions in Missouri were licensing same-sex marriages: the city of St. Louis, St. Louis County, and Jackson County (which includes Kansas City).
Earlier this year, a Republican Missouri state senator introduced a bill that would have made it a crime to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple and would mean job loss for any public employee who did so. Sen. Ed Emery's bill died when the session adjourned.