Steph Perkins | PROMO | February 22, 2016
There have been nine anti-LGBT bills filed thus far in the Missouri Legislature. We wanted to give you a glance at these bills and where they currently stand in the state legislature.
Religious Exemption Bills
Religious exemption bills are thinly veiled discrimination bills that hurt many oppressed groups. We believe that religion is an important, fundamental value, which is why it is protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Nevertheless, no one should have the right to use those same religious beliefs to discriminate or refuse a public service to another person. These bills include:
SB916: Filed by Senator Kurt Schaefer. There is a hearing scheduled for 1pm in the Senate Lounge on February 23 at the Missouri Capitol. SB 916 is more limited compared to HB2040 and has no references to same-sex marriage. It does expand employment religious exemptions to non-profits who claim to be religious. This would also apply to refusing service on the basis of currently protected categories like race, sex, religion, and disability status.
SJR 39: On Friday, February 19, PROMO and ACLU of Missouri released a joint statement in response to the filing and referral of SJR39, Senator Bob Onder’s proposed “religious exemption” amendment to Missouri’s constitution. This proposed amendment would forbid the state from penalizing businesses who refuse services to a same-sex couples for their wedding. There is a hearing set for February 23 at 10:15am on this proposed amendment.
HJR96/97: Filed on February 19 by Rep. Curtman. This is the House version of SJR 39. SJR97 explicitly references same-sex marriage exemptions.
HB2040: Businesses can refuse service to same-sex couples based on religious beliefs. This bill was filed by Representative John McCaherty and has not moved.
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