Missouri - pro-gay bills, pro-gay ruling
From: Alan M. Easton
Sunday, February 15, 1998
Two bills have recently been introduced into the Missouri House of Representatives.
These bills were introduced as a result of efforts of the Privacy Rights Education Project
(PREP) a St. Louis based G/L/B/T and privacy rights organization.
HB1760 would repeal that portion of Missouri's sexual misconduct code that criminalizes
sex acts between people of the same sex.
This is the sixth year that such a repeal bill has been introduced.
HB1719 would add sexual orientation to the human rights code. This bill would forbid
discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation. The wording is such that
transgendered people would be covered.
This is the first time a civil rights bill relating to sexual orientation has been
introduced into the Missouri General Assembly.
Both bills have two sponsors and 14 cosponsors, all Democrats. Included is openly gay
State Representative Tim Van Zandt. [The Missouri House has 163 members.]
Progress on these bills can be followed at:
The Missouri Lawyers Weekly (Jan 26, 1998) reports that a Missouri Court of Appeals'
Western District has ruled that a lesbian's homosexuality is not per se grounds for denial
of child custody. Instead her homosexuality could be used only as part of a
"nexus" test in which it must be linked with an adverse effect on the children.
The case is DeLong v. DeLong MLW No. 21697 decided on Jan. 20.
Judge Ulrich was quoted: "such an irrefutable presumption where a parent's
homosexual conduct is, alone, determinative, is inherently inconsistent with the best
interests of the child standard, which requires consideration of all factors relevant to
the child's welfare."
This differs from the rulings made by the Missouri appellate courts in seven cases
since 1980. In all of those cases custody was awarded to the heterosexual parent and
restrictions on visitation by the homosexual parent were upheld.
Alan Easton, member
Privacy Rights Education Project
St. Louis, MO
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