Smokescreen - The Missourian: Opinion

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Posted: Saturday, April 12, 2014 2:29 pm | Updated: 12:50 pm, Thu Oct 23, 2014.

State Sen. Brian Nieves likes to campaign in combat terms. 

So when he announced this week his campaign for Franklin County Recorder of Deeds would be predicated on the preservation of traditional marriage, he used familiar battle analogies. 

He predicted “a political fight” if not “an all-out political war” over gay marriage and asked you to think again if you believe the recorder of deeds for each county is going to be “ground zero” in the fight.

Nieves says he has the credentials to be your next recorder of deeds because he has served on “the front lines” of the fight to enshrine traditional marriage in the Missouri Constitution. He pledges to be “a pit bull” in the defense of the U.S. and Missouri constitutions if elected. 

We understand it’s an election year so it must be time for the politicians to throw out some red meat to the hungry partisans. 

But the reality is the county recorder of deeds doesn’t set the policy on gay marriage in our state. They simply follow the laws which are written by the Legislature or proscribed in the Constitution. 

If Sen. Nieves was really concerned about preserving traditional marriage he should have run for another term in the Senate. But we doubt that he would have much to do in that regard.

Missouri became the first state to enact a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage after the Massachusetts high court permitted gay marriage there. The measure passed with 70 percent of the vote. That was in 2004. Every county voted in favor of the amendment. 

While that support may have eroded some, the reality is there is no real threat to preserving traditional marriage in Missouri. That’s the case as well here in Franklin County. No gay couple has applied for a marriage license in the last 24 years. 

Like claims that the government is coming to take away your guns, it’s a false issue designed to gin up support among the far right and to raise campaign funds. 

In military terms, we call that a smokescreen.

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