Kansas Same Sex Couple Refused Marriage License Hours After SCOTUS Announcement
October 6, 2014

A same sex couple in Wichita were refused a marriage license Monday, hours after a surprise announcement from the US Supreme Court may clear the way for same sex marriages in Kansas, without notice, the High Court announced it would not take up the cases from Oklahoma and Utah trying to uphold those state’s bans against same sex marriage.
Kansas is in the same federal judicial circuit as those two states. Lower courts in the 10th Circuit have ruled those Oklahoma and Utah bans on same sex marriages unconstitutional
Since Kansas is in the same circuit, its constitutional ban against same sex marriages is affected by the Supreme court Decisions not to hear the cases from the same jurisdiction. The controlling Lowser courts have ruled those same sex bans unconstitutional so means other same sex marriage bans in the 10th circuit are unconstitutional.
Two other federal circuits are affected by the case, the 4th Circuit, which covers the mid-Atlantic states of the South . The other is the 7th Circuit of the Upper Midwest.
Missouri is not affected because is it part of the another judicial circuit, the 8th.
A Wichita couple, Kerry Wilks and donna DeTrani asked for a marriage license at the Sedgwick County Courthouse Monday afternoon.
Wilks says Sedgwick County judge James Fleetwood refused to issue one to them.
Wilks says the judge respectfully told them he was waiting for a “mandate” from the Court, according to Wilks.
The Kansas Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union believes the decision in Washington is profound.
“I think the writing is on the wall,” says Doug Bonney of the ACLU, “ same sex marriage is here.”
Bonney says the ACLU is now looking for a same sex couple to act as plaintiffs for a test case.
In Missouri, Attorney General Chris Koster announced, in light of the Supreme Court move, the state would not appeal a same sex ruling last week from a Kansas City judge.
The judge ruled Missouri, which also bans same sex marriages within the state, must recognize legally married same sex couples who’s marriages were performed in states where they are legal.

Koster Won’t Appeal Early Voting Ruling
September 17, 2014

(AP) – The Missouri attorney general’s office will not appeal a ruling rewriting the ballot summary of an early voting proposal.

A spokeswoman for Attorney General Chris Koster said Tuesday that he won’t ask the state Supreme Court to hear the case following Monday’s decision by an appeals court panel.

The appellate judges said the summary drafted by legislators was misleading, because it failed to note that the proposed six-day early voting period would occur only if state funding is provided.

The appeals judges ordered the funding contingency to be included in the ballot summary.

House and Senate leaders had said they did not want to appeal the ruling, because they didn’t want further legal complications before the measure appears on the November ballot.

Koster to Defend Missouri Against KC same Sex Lawsuit
August 8, 2014

(AP)–A federal judge will hear a lawsuit challenging Missouri’s ban on gay marriage after state Attorney General Chris Koster intervened in the case and moved it out of state court.
The switch could put the Missouri case on a more direct route through the federal appellate courts at a time when U.S. judges have been increasingly striking down other states’ gay-marriage bans.

“We wanted at least one of the cases (from Missouri) to be considered in a court of broader jurisdiction,” Koster spokesman Eric Slusher said Thursday.

At issue is a lawsuit attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union filed earlier this summer in Jackson County Circuit Court on behalf of two same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses.

Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders announced earlier that the County would not spend money defending the County against the lawsuit.

Although the state was not named as a defendant, Koster’s office intervened because the lawsuit alleges Missouri’s constitutional prohibition on same-sex marriage violates equal-protection and due-process rights under the U.S. Constitution.

Because of the alleged federal violations, Koster’s office moved the case to U.S. District Court, where it has been assigned to Judge Ortrie Smith.

Koster, a Democrat who is running for governor in 2016, has said he personally supports gay marriage but will carry out his official duties by defending Missouri’s ban. His office filed federal court documents earlier this week, arguing Missouri’s prohibition should be upheld because states have a right to set their own rational constraints on domestic relations until the U.S. Supreme Court says otherwise.

Democrat Koster Endorses ‘ Right to Farm’ Amendment Plan
July 10, 2014

Missouri Times via John Combest:
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Less than one week after a Republican lawmaker backed out of a scheduled debate on Missouri’s so-called Right to Farm amendment, Democrat Attorney General Chris Koster announced his support for the measure.

Chris Koster
Koster announced at the Missouri Farm Bureau headquarters that he supported Amendment 1, which will be appearing on the August 5 ballot. Supporters say the language protects Missouri’s largest industry – agriculture – by protecting it against future burdensome regulations. The ballot language reads:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure that the right of Missouri citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices shall not be infringed?

Koster announced his support at a political event today. A spokesperson for Missourians for Koster released a brief statement to The Missouri Times.

“The Right to Farm Amendment will ensure that agricultural production in Missouri is always economically competitive with other states across the country. This amendment ensures Missouri farming methods are not subject to extreme regulations that damage our state’s number one industry.”

Opponents of the language say it will actually give a blank check to pollute to small and large corporate farms alike and allow even the most minimal of regulations to be challenged in court.

Some groups on the left —the very base he’ll need to tap in a few years — immediately slammed Koster, who plans to run for Governor in 2016, for supporting Amendment 1. Former state lawmaker, Wes Shoemyer, is leading the charge against the proposed constitutional change. In a press release from Missouri’s Food for America, Shoemyer blasted Koster for inconsistency.
More: http://themissouritimes.com/11488/koster-wades-right-farm-debate/

Democrat Koster Endorses ‘ Freedom to Farm’ Amendment
July 10, 2014

Missouri Times, via John Combest:
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Less than one week after a Republican lawmaker backed out of a scheduled debate on Missouri’s so-called Right to Farm amendment, Democrat Attorney General Chris Koster announced his support for the measure.

Chris Koster
Koster announced at the Missouri Farm Bureau headquarters that he supported Amendment 1, which will be appearing on the August 5 ballot. Supporters say the language protects Missouri’s largest industry – agriculture – by protecting it against future burdensome regulations. The ballot language reads:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure that the right of Missouri citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices shall not be infringed?

Koster announced his support at a political event today. A spokesperson for Missourians for Koster released a brief statement to The Missouri Times.

“The Right to Farm Amendment will ensure that agricultural production in Missouri is always economically competitive with other states across the country. This amendment ensures Missouri farming methods are not subject to extreme regulations that damage our state’s number one industry.”

Opponents of the language say it will actually give a blank check to pollute to small and large corporate farms alike and allow even the most minimal of regulations to be challenged in court.

Some groups on the left —the very base he’ll need to tap in a few years — immediately slammed Koster, who plans to run for Governor in 2016, for supporting Amendment 1. Former state lawmaker, Wes Shoemyer, is leading the charge against the proposed constitutional change. In a press release from Missouri’s Food for America, Shoemyer blasted Koster for inconsistency.
More: http://themissouritimes.com/11488/koster-wades-right-farm-debate/