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Openly gay Jackson County Republican avoids censure for same-sex marriage amendment

State Rep. Chris Sander, R-Lone Jack, speaks during Missouri House debate.
Tim Bommel
Missouri House
Missouri Rep. Chris Sander, R-Lone Jack, proposed an amendment to enshrine the right to same-sex marriage in the Missouri Constitution.

The Jackson County Republican Party considered censuring state Rep. Chris Sander, a Lone Jack Republican, after he introduced an amendment changing the Missouri Constitution’s language defining marriage.

Jackson County Republicans have dropped, for now, a motion to censureLone Jack Rep. Chris Sander for filing a proposed amendment that would enshrine the right to same-sex marriage in the Missouri Constitution.

Sander’s amendment would change the language in the constitution to define marriage as between “two individuals,” rather than between “one man and one woman.”

Sander told KCUR’s Up To Date that the Jackson County Republican Party still plans to form a committee to consider future actions against him, which he worries could still result in censure.

“They have deeply held religious beliefs and I don't think they understand my own religious beliefs, but I got elected to represent people of all beliefs, Republican, Democrat, anybody in my district,” Sander said.

Sander cited a Gallup poll from last summer that showed 71% of Americans support same-sex marriage.

Gay marriage has been legal in Missouri since the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, but Sander said he will keep pushing to change the constitution’s language.

“It's an issue everywhere, but I hope that this example of what's happening here in Missouri would be an opportunity for the Republican Party to grow and include and respect LGBTQ people,” Sander said.

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