HRC was on the ground in Missouri this week working closely with our partners at PROMO, Missouri’s statewide LGBT advocacy organization, and the Missouri ACLU. SJR 39, discriminatory legislation that could enshrine religious bigotry into the Missouri constitution, has been a top priority for HRC since its filing at the beginning of this year’s legislative session. For months now HRC has been working closely with our partners on the ground to bring attention to SJR 39. Our work to bring a national spotlight to the effort took a giant step forward when the bill, which had been fast-passed through its only committee of reference in the Senate, was met with a historic 39 hour non-stop filibuster by the Missouri Senate Democrats.
It was a busy week this week as I met with stakeholders and our HRC leadership in St. Louis before heading to Jefferson City for the PROMO and ACLU hosted “Rally at the Capitol” against SJR 39. Over 100 advocates from around the state gathered to hear speakers talk about the broad impact the proposed constitutional amendment could have on LGBT families in the Show Me state if it were to make it onto the ballot and pass. Following the rally I joined dozens of activists to deliver over 4,000 petitions against SJR 39 to Missouri Speaker Richardson’s office.
While at the Capitol I had the pleasure of meeting one of the leaders of the Senate Democratic filibuster, Senator Jill Schupp (D – St. Louis County). Senator Schupp was a leading voice and cheerleader in the Senate Democratic Caucus during what became the longest filibuster in the Missouri Senate’s history. She shared passionate testimony on the floor about why discrimination was wrong while her and her colleagues brought a national spotlight that’s been essential to slowing the bill down. In the time I spent with her Senator Schupp shared stories about how important the emails from PROMO, ACLU and HRC members were to her and her colleagues during the standoff that lasted nearly two full days.
This week SJR 39 received it’s first committee referral in the House of Representatives. HRC will continue supporting our state leaders as we work together to keep this harmful and discriminatory amendment from the Missouri Constitution.
Dozens of activists prepare to deliver petitions against SJR 39 to the Missouri Speaker Todd Richardson.
HRC Regional Field Director Joe Saunders stands with Senate Democratic champion Jill Schupp.
HRC Regional Field Director Joe Saunders grabs a picture with the HRC St. Louis Steering Committee leaders after a briefing about HRC’s work to stop anti-LGBT legislation in Missouri and across the country.