Democratic Senators in Missouri’s state legislature have ended a filibuster that lasted more than 39 hours over SJR39, a joint resolution that proposes to amend the state constitution to prevent the state from punishing individuals or religious entities who decline to participate in gay marriage ceremonies.
The bill, introduced by State Senator Bob Onder, also provides protections for worship facilities and clergy that refuse to participate in the ceremonies due to sincerely held religious beliefs, as well as vendors and individuals citizens. Senator Onder argues that religious beliefs are a perfectly acceptable reason to decline services.
Lawmakers who filibustered the bill claimed the bill was a “mean-spirited attempt” to unfairly treat LGBT individuals. However, Republican sponsors of the law maintain that the change would not harm those individuals, rather it would only seek to protect the consciences of Missouri’s religious population.
The proposal has passed final reading in the Senate and awaits a vote in the House. If the proposal passes in the House, then Missouri voters will be given the chance to vote on it either on the August or November ballot.
FPIW applauds the Missouri Senate for their efforts to pass this resolution, despite angry opposition, and we hope that our own state legislature will place special emphasis on the protection for religious freedom in Washington moving forward.
To follow this story, you can check out updates from our sister organization, the Missouri Family Policy Council.