Today, HRC praised Missouri Senate Democrats for leading a historic filibuster to stop Republicans from moving forward with Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 39 – a measure that could enshrine discrimination against LGBT Missourians and their families into the state constitution.
Still going strong since 4:00 PM CT yesterday, these pro-equality state senators have been vigorously fighting an assault on equality that’s similar to so-called “First Amendment Defense Act” legislation introduced in other states. The extreme resolution would lead to a ballot measure that proposes to allow individuals, organizations, and businesses to use religion as a valid excuse to discriminate against LGBT people.
“These Missouri Senate Democrats working throughout the night to stop this outrageous assault on LGBT Missourians and their families are our heroes,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. “This resolution has nothing to do with religious liberty and everything to do with enshrining anti-LGBT discrimination into the Missouri Constitution. We are incredibly grateful for these state senators who are standing up against overwhelming odds to proclaim that hate and discrimination are not Missouri values.”
The filibuster against the anti-LGBT resolution is being led by Democratic Senators Jamilah Nasheed, Jill Schupp, Scott Sifton, Jason Holsman, Maria Chappelle-Nadal, Joseph Keaveny and Kiki Curls.
SJR 39 goes far beyond protecting the right of free exercise of one’s religion. While shrouded in language framed as prohibiting the state government from making funding or tax status decisions based on an organization’s views on marriage that are driven by religious belief, in reality it opens the door to discrimination against same-sex couples, their families, and those who love them.
If voted into law, LGBT people and their families could suddenly find themselves at risk of being denied many basic services. Taxpayer funded foster care providers and adoption agencies could refuse to place children in need of loving homes with same-sex couples. Taxpayer funded homeless shelters could turn away LGBT couples and their families. The legislation would have reckless intended and unintended consequences.
The resolution addresses no real problem in the state as no federal or state law requires religious organizations or clergy to sanction or perform same-sex marriages.
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