JACKSON COUNTY, Mo. - A Missouri Western District Court of Appeals has dismissed the case of a gay man who sued his former employer for unlawful termination, because state law does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, the Columbia Tribune reports.

The 2-1 decision upheld the 2013 dismissal of James Pittman's case, who claimed he was fired from Cook Paper Recycling Corporation because he was gay.

“No matter how compelling Pittman’s argument may be and no matter how sympathetic this court or the trial court may be to Pittman’s situation, we are bound by the state of the law as it currently exists,” Chief Judge James Welch wrote in dismissing the case.

Pittman alleged that Joe Jurden, the president of Cook Paper, called him a "cocksucker” and "made other comments of a sexual nature, discriminatory to a male homosexual, including asking him if he had AIDS," the Tribune reports. Pittman was later fired in December 2011 after seven years with the company.

While discrimination based on age, race, religion or gender is against the law in Missouri - lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals can still be fired, denied an apartment or refused service because of who they are . The Missouri Nondiscrimination ACT (MONA), which has been introduced in General Assembly since 1998, would make it illegal to deny LGBT Missourians employment, housing and public accommodation based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. 

“This ruling makes it clear that the time has come for Missouri to pass a new nondiscrimination act to ensure the LGBT community is afforded the same protections as all other Missourians,” said Attorney General Chris Koster, the sole Democrat currently running for governor.

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, the GOP front-runner for state chief executive said, “every person deserves to be judged on their merits and I am against discrimination for any reason.”

Lynne Bratcher, Pittman’s attorney, told the Tribune she will appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court.


Read the full opinion here