Mo. Democrats divided on gay marriage issue

Thursday, July 22, 2004

WASHINGTON -- The issue of gay marriage divides Democratic convention delegates more narrowly in Missouri than across the nation, an Associated Press survey found. Nearly 40 percent of Missouri delegates to the Democratic National Convention favored marriage for same-sex couples, while 33 percent were opposed. A sizable chunk -- 28 percent -- didn't answer the question. Nationally, a smaller portion opposed gay marriage, while the percentage in favor was about the same. Those numbers were 41 percent in favor, 21 percent opposed. The AP surveyed 76 of 88 Missouri delegates, or 86 percent of those set to attend the Boston convention next week. The issue divided Missourians along generational and gender-related lines. Among baby boomers -- at ages 40 to 58, the largest group of delegates to the convention -- 16 delegates favored gay marriage, while 11 opposed it.

Nixon bows out of early voting flap in St. Louis

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Attorney General Jay Nixon has decided not to weigh in on whether St. Louis can hold early voting for the Nov. 2 general election, a blow to city election officials hoping to hinge their decision on Nixon's. The lack of direction from Nixon means the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners is unlikely to authorize early voting, unless someone sues and receives a court ruling saying advance voting is legal, the board's Democratic and Republican election directors said in separate interviews Wednesday. St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, a Democrat, has contended a 2002 state law allows early voting -- contrary to the assertion of Missouri's chief election official, Republican Secretary of State Matt Blunt, and the current practice elsewhere in the state.

Columbia newspaper endorses McCaskill

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- The Columbia Daily Tribune on Wednesday endorsed State Auditor Claire McCaskill in the Democratic race for governor, calling her a "strong, smart, philosophically balanced and articulate leader." McCaskill is challenging incumbent Gov. Bob Holden, whom the newspaper criticized for a lack of leadership during a budget battle with the Republican legislature. In his editorial, Henry J. Waters III, publisher of the Tribune, called Holden "a decent man with good intentions and lots of energy" but said the reason to elect McCaskill is to "gain the services of an extraordinary challenger." The Tribune said McCaskill has been an exemplary performer in every public office she has held, especially praising her for numerous audits that found not only "fiscal curiosities," but also recommended operational changes. The newspaper also praised McCaskill for creating a foundation to improve the state's Open Meetings and Records law.

-- From wire reports

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