KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- As many same-sex couples around the world say "I Do" this weekend, a Missouri lawmaker is pushing for a repeal of the state's ban on gay marriage. The hotly debated topic of same-sex marriage remains in the headlines. Now, a new piece of legislation has people in Missouri closely watching what happens next.
In 2004, more than 70% of voters in Missouri passed an amendment to the state constitution, banning same-sex marriages in the state. The amendment reads, “that to be valid and recognized in this state, a marriage shall exist only between a man and a woman.' Missouri Representative Mike Colona is trying to repeal that ban. FOX 4 spoke with people on both sides of the controversial issue.
Peter Arroyo manages Hamburger Mary's in Kansas City.
“No one chooses to be gay. It’s just how you are. Love is just something I feel you have to take seriously, and whether it's a man or a woman, it's love," he said.
He believes House Joint Resolution 85 is a step in the right direction.
“There are so many gay couples that want to get married, love to just get a family started and just to have that voice in there for all of us, is sort of definitely groundbreaking in a way,” he said.
Lori Burns, a customer at Hamburger Mary’s, feels people need to be more open to change.
“There are people that I work with that are gay that are super nice people, good friends with them. To me, if they are in a relationship and want to commit to that, they should have a right to do that,” Burns said.
Larry Chambers was eating with Burns and he believes the ban stems from prejudice. The same prejudice, he says, black people faced in the 1960s.
“They contribute to society as much as heterosexual people, if not more. Again, I don`t see what the big deal is, why they have to ban it,” Chambers said.
Former State Representative Gary Dusenberg says the ban is in place because the majority of people in Missouri believe, “Marriage is between a man and a woman. That`s the way things are and that`s way they should be.”
Dusenberg served as a state representative between 2002 and 2012. He says he`s not against liberty.
“If you're talking about liberty, I'm a liberty guy. I think this is what this country was founded upon. Some things just don`t fit that, fit in that category. This is one of them,” he said.
When asked his opinion about the term "civil union," his response was:
“I see some credence in that to some degree, when it comes to some of the laws as far as property rights, maybe but I’m not really sold on that neither. But I do see a little bit of credence in that as far as a union between two people. But again, marriage is between a man and a woman.”
State representative Sheila Solon says this isn't an issue over sexual preferences.
“We all have family members, loved ones, that are gay. They are people that we love and we support so we certainly, I believe, as Republicans, believe that no one should ever be discriminated against because of whatever: their gender, their race, or their sexual preference,” she said.
There are seven weeks left in this legislative session.