Attorney General Jay Nixon's office inquired about the level of national support for a legal brief protesting California's same-sex marriage ruling before signing on to it, according to documents provided to the KY3 Political Notebook by a Republican source.
The G.O.P. source says this correspondence, acquired through Missouri's Sunshine Law, raises new questions about why Attorney General Jay Nixon waited to sign onto the brief requesting a delay of the California ruling. A Democratic attorney argues that this is normal protocol that any Attorney General goes through when determining how to proceed.
The California Supreme Court issued its decision legalizing gay marriage on May 15th. On May 23rd, the Utah Attorney General first contacted Nixon's office about signing onto a brief requesting a delay.
According to an e-mail on May 27th at 9:49 a.m., State Solicitor James Layton, who works in Nixon's office, asked Utah's Attorney General about the level of support for the brief. "Could you keep me posted via email on what states sign on? Attorney General Nixon and I spoke about this today, and he'll want an update tomorrow," wrote Jim Layton to Helen Peterson, an assistant in Utah's Attorney General office.
Later that day in an e-mail to the Marriage Law Foundation, Layton wrote, "We haven't made a decision yet. It will matter to us how many states are on the letter."
At that point, Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii and Idaho had signed on.
On June 3rd, Nixon announced he was joining 10 other states in asking California to delay finalizing is ruling to legalize same-sex marriage. According to the Associated Press, a spokesperson for Nixon said the certification of the California ballot measure -- not pressure from Blunt's office -- prompted the attorney general to request the stay Tuesday.
Attorney General spokesperson John Fougere declined to comment about the correspondence.
Governor Matt Blunt's office called the correspondence "disappointing" and "frustrating."
"This is very disappointing," said spokesperson Rich Chrismer. "It is frustrating that Nixon's office provided false reasons for why he did not join other Attorneys General seeking a delay of the California Supreme Court's same sex marriage ruling. It is also frustrating that he missed this opportunity for Missourians voices to be heard," he said.
Whether this action is suspect of political motives or perfectly routine is up for you to decide.