A Missouri state senator has introduced a bill that would prohibit clerks from issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

According to NBC affiliate KOMU, Republican Senator Ed Emery says the measure is needed to help clerks “do the right thing.”

“The state did not create marriage. It did not define marriage. It simply acknowledges marriage by our laws,” Emery told the outlet.

“We're going to help you do the right thing. We're going to put a penalty in here that says, 'If you choose to violate Missouri's statute and Missouri's constitution, then you are violating your oath and are subject to some sort of punishment,'” he added.

Emery's proposal would make it legal to fire a clerk for issuing such a license.

A federal court last year struck down Missouri's decade-old voter-approved constitutional amendment defining marriage as a heterosexual union. Officials appealed the ruling to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis, which is considering similar decisions from Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota. Arguments, originally scheduled for Tuesday, May 12, were canceled last week. The court said it was putting the cases on hold until the Supreme Court rules in a similar case argued last week.

Texas lawmakers are considering a similar proposal.

(Related: Texas bill prohibiting gay marriages clears House committee.)