– The cheers last week for Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster from his party’s base praising his decision not to challenge a court ruling forcing the state to recognize out of state same-sex marriages were joined this week by loud conservative opposition.
On Thursday, nearly a week after a Kansas City judge issued the ruling, House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, penned a letter to Koster – the Democratic frontrunner for governor in 2016 – asking him to reverse his decision and challenge a court ruling that requires the state of Missouri to recognize out of state same-sex marriages.
“Chris Koster has a duty to defend our state’s constitution, whether he personally agrees with it or not. His job is to uphold and defend our constitution, not to make policy,” Jones said in a statement. “He cannot just abandon his duties when they are politically inconvenient, and I think it is disgraceful that he is attempting to do so.”
Jones said if Koster will not challenge the court’s ruling, he should instead “appoint someone in his place who is capable and able of doing so.” If Koster does not change his course, Jones threatened to act on his own using “the powers granted to the Missouri House to ensure our state’s constitution is defended in court.”
For both of the 2016 hopefuls, the issue of LGBT marriage provides a unique opportunity to reach out to base voters. Jones has not yet announced his plans for 2016, but he has over the past year made Koster – and, more specifically, the role of the state’s attorney general – a big target of his attention, signaling an interest in the job.
Koster – who faces something of a confidence gap particularly with liberals due to his acceptance of large campaign contributions from Republican donors and most recently his support of the controversial “right to farm” ballot measure – has used the issue to gain some praise from LGBT Missourians, a key demographic in a Democratic primary.