Mayor Francis Slay fired the opening salvo in what could become a protracted, but ultimately enlightening, battle over Missouri’s constitutional ban on gay marriage. After marrying four couples at City Hall this week, he was stopped by a lawsuit from the State’s Attorney General, who is forced to uphold the State Constitution. Where will it all wind up? Koster’s move was brilliant politically. As the presumed Democratic Candidate for Governor, he has endeared himself to the gay community and young people eyeing jobs in more tolerant places by saying he personally is in favor of gay marriage. In an amazing stroke of political genius, at the same time, he has appeased many outstate voters and constitutionalists who oppose overturning the ban by saying he will sue to uphold it.
I read a great column a little while back about the fact that tolerance is good for business. It’s true. First of all, it is good business in terms of how we conduct ourselves to be tolerant. Second, it’s actually good for good ol’ dollars and cents (sense?) business, too. Why would talented, intelligent, technology savvy, young people who are attracted to the same sex want to earn or spend their dollars in a state that doesn’t allow them to marry? After all, stable communities with solid families and neighborhoods are what make the Midwest such a special place to live. Allowing gays to marry only stabilizes our community.
The Nondiscrimination Act was a necessary first step. But will Missourians commit to the next stage of acceptance? Will more than four couples get to say, “I did?”