ST. LOUIS — While Missouri was the first state to add a discriminatory amendment to its state constitution banning same-gender marriage, the Show-Me State’s LGBT community has not backed down and has recommitted itself to achieving full equality.

In August, LGBT community members from across the state met at the University of Missouri for PROMO’s annual Equality Summit. PROMO, founded in 1986 with a mission to advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality through legislative action, electoral politics, community education and grassroots organizing, is the only statewide political organization fighting for LGBT rights in Missouri.

Each year activists meet to learn and discuss PROMO’s legislative, electoral and outreach strategies in a daylong conference with skills building workshops, panel discussions and strategy sessions surrounding LGBT equality. This year the Equality Summit included workshops on transgender issues, working with faith and people of color communities, event planning and rural outreach. Workshop facilitators included individuals from across the state with a broad range of expertise and experience.

In what may be the greatest challenge to their rights yet, Missouri members of the LGBT community are facing possible legislation and perhaps another constitutional amendment disqualifying them from being adoptive and foster parents.

An unwritten rule in Missouri’s Department of Family Services (DFS) allows gays and lesbians to adopt or be foster parents as long as they are not open. In other words, “Lie and you’re fine. Tell the truth and we will ban you from being legal parents.”

The ACLU of western Missouri is currently representing a lesbian couple who were previously deemed “exceptionally qualified” to be foster parents, but whose application was turned down. After losing an administrative appeal, the two women, one whom works in child development and the other a chaplain at a psychiatric treatment center for children and adolescents with emotional and behavioral disorders, are fighting back.

PROMO and the ACLU are holding LGBT Parenting Rights Conferences across the state and a letter-writing campaign is underway to urge the Missouri Legislature not to pursue this discriminatory legislation. Gay and lesbian citizens should be assessed the same as any other applicant would be. Excluding people, gay or straight, from becoming foster or adoptive parents works against children’s interests.

Barbara Woodruff is a leader of Show Me Equality, a St. Louis LGBT rights organization.