Perspective: Attacks on gun rights, traditional marriage

Fifty-two years upon this earth, all of it in Missouri, and this past weekend was the first time I have ever been to Palm Sunday services in the snow or seen many canceled due to snow.

Missouri weather is never boring. And yes, I have the definitive answer to the question posed in previous reports — all snow shoveled at the end of March feels heavier than snow in January or February. I look forward to spring making its long-awaited appearance in the coming days and am hopeful that Easter weather will be more accommodating than the weather on Palm Sunday.

Easter is a fantastic holiday because it goes hand-in-hand with Christmas. At Christmas we celebrate the birth of a Savior, and at Easter we celebrate His saving sacrifice on our behalf and His resurrection. Like many of you, I look forward to celebrating Easter with my family and continuing traditions we have grown accustomed to over many years. I wish each of you a very Happy Easter and hope that your time spent with family over the holiday is enjoyable and marked by good food, good fellowship, and prayerful thanks for a risen Savior.

On Tuesday the Senate gave first-round approval to Senate Joint Resolution 14. I am proud to be a co-sponsor of SJR14 that, when passed by the Senate and the House, will put before the people an amendment to Missouri’s constitution to state that Missourians have a right to keep and bear firearms to protect their families in addition to their homes, person, and property as it already includes. Beyond clarifying that Missourians have a right to bear arms to protect their families, SJR14 states that this right is inalienable and that the state has an obligation to uphold these rights and protect against their infringement.

With each passing day our Second Amendment rights are under assault across this country. Law abiding gun owners are being forced to abdicate their Second Amendment freedoms because of the criminal acts of a few. In New York, this fight has already been lost as Gov. Cuomo made a mockery of the legislative process by jamming through poorly written and unenforceable legislation that does nothing to stop violent crime. Missouri cannot follow the lead of New York or other states where guns themselves are viewed as inherently evil and without value. SJR14 is an important piece of legislation because it represents foundational Missouri values.

As surely as our Second Amendment rights are under attack, so too is the institution of marriage. I believe that marriage, of one man and woman, is ordained by God and is the foundation of our society. Today, this foundation finds itself under assault in state houses across the country as well as before the United States Supreme Court.

I am glad that Missourians have spoken loudly and clearly about this issue, with 71 percent of Missourians voting to amend the constitution to say: “That to be valid and recognized in this state, a marriage shall exist only between a man and a woman.” Section 33 of the Missouri Constitution reflects the beliefs and values of Missourians. This definition does not need to be changed and should not be changed either in Jefferson City or in Washington, DC.

My steadfast support for traditional marriage has been interpreted as “fundamentalist,” as “bigoted” and as “hateful.” In truth, it is none of these. Instead, my support for traditional marriage is anchored in my faith and is buoyed by a lifetime of observation that children from homes with a mother and a father are surrounded by love which contains the ingredients to more easily open doors to life’s opportunities.

As the child of a single mother, I know this is not a guarantee or an absolute truth, but as a child of a single mother I also know the great challenges my mother had to overcome in raising my brother, sisters, and me — challenges that would have been mitigated with a father at home. That I avoided these pitfalls is a testament to my mother’s efforts, her faith and God’s grace.

This Easter season, and as Christians, we should keep those who don’t agree with these core principles of faith in our prayers.

God gave his only Son for us and we should offer our kind hearts to all our neighbors regardless of whether we agree with their life choices or not. It is important to model Christ’s love to everyone, especially those with whom we might disagree on these important issues. I believe that God sent His only Son to earth in an act of sacrificial love for everyone — not just those who share our beliefs.

On Wednesday afternoon I had the good fortune of talking to students from across the district who were in the Capitol with the Community Leaders Educating About Resistance (CLEAR) Program. Having been a teenager, and having four of my own, I fully understand that most teenagers believe their parents are dumb and know nothing about which they speak. That will change at about the age of 22, when their parents will suddenly get a whole lot smarter, but until that time their peers and fellow students have the greatest influence on their decision-making. I am grateful for these students who have committed themselves to helping their peers make good decisions and effecting positive change in their school and community.

My purpose and my intent is to serve the constituents of the 6th Senatorial District. Please feel free to contact me at any time at 573-751-2076. When you are in the Capitol during the coming weeks and months, please stop by your office in Room 220.

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