After one of the longest filibusters in Missouri Senate history, a constitutional amendment that would allow businesses and organizations to refuse service to LGBTQ couples based on religious beliefs was passed by the Missouri Senate on Wednesday morning.
Senate Joint Resolution 39 was filibustered for almost 40 hours starting at 4:15 p.m March 7. Nine senators participated in the filibuster:
- Sen. Joseph Keaveny, D-St. Louis.
- Sen. Kiki Curls, D-Kansas City.
- Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis.
- Sen. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur.
- Sen. Scott Sifton, D-Affton.
- Sen. Gina Walsh, D-Bellefontaine Neighbors.
- Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City.
- Sen. Jason Holsman D-Kansas City.
- Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph.
The filibuster was often heated.
“I can do this all day,” Chappelle-Nadal said while fighting the amendment during the first 24-hour period of the debate. “This is my prime time.”
Chappelle-Nadal and Schupp had been debating against the amendment for three hours at that time.
According to a news release from PROMO, a Missouri LGBTQ advocacy group, over 200 Missouri businesses, faith leaders and organizations have expressed opposition to the amendment, which passed with a vote of 23–9.
“Discrimination is a key factor in creating health care disparities,” said Laura McQuade, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Kansas and Mid-Missouri president and CEO, in a news release. “Missourians face enough politically created challenges in accessing the care they need just to stay healthy. Adding barriers to simply buy a cake or enjoy a meal out because of one’s sexual orientation is a new low even for extremists like Senator Onder.”
Jeffrey Mittman, American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri executive director, also expressed concern over the amendment.
“This bill would enshrine discrimination in our state constitution by allowing taxpayer-funded organizations like adoption and foster care agencies and homeless shelters to refuse serving LGBT families, in addition to countless other harmful consequences,” Mittman said in a statement. “This amendment raises serious constitutional concerns because it singles out same-sex couples for discrimination, notwithstanding the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell recognizing that same-sex couples enjoy the same constitutional right to marry as everyone else. In addition, the state cannot constitutionally prefer one set of religious beliefs (here, those opposed to marriage for same sex couples) over all other beliefs.”
The amendment will be debated and voted on again in Senate on Thursday and then in the Missouri House of Representatives. If passed, Missouri citizens will vote on the proposed amendment in an upcoming election.
Edited by Hailey Stolze | email@example.com