Bill Would Place 'Religious Freedom' Constitutional Amendment on Ballot to Legalize Anti-Gay Discrimination
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At around 4:00 PM local time, the Missouri State Senate took up SJR 39, a "religious freedom" bill that would put before voters the decision of whether or not to amend the state constitution to allow any person, organization, or business the "right" to discriminate against LGBT people or same-sex couple based on a claim of sincerely held religious beliefs.
Thanks to the seven Democrats in the State Senate, the bill is now in the middle of a marathon filibuster. It's been over 15 hours and they're still going strong, talking about the bill, what religious liberty really is, and currently, reading a list of all the businesses that oppose the legislation.
The bill is sponsored by Sen. Bob Onder, who falsely claimed Monday it is "entirely defensive," an "a shield, not a sword."
“Their is no desire to discriminate against anyone,” Onder said. “This would simply protect people from being persecuted based on their religious beliefs.”
The Kansas City Star reports GOP state Sen. David Sater told his colleagues the Bible repeatedly mentions “the abomination of homosexuality.”
“I’m not condemning this type of behavior. I just believe through my religious convictions that it is wrong.”
But Kansas City Democratic state Sen. Jason Holsman said: “A lot of the arguments I’m hearing of proponents of this bill harken back to the same arguments we heard back in 1964 when people were fighting for segregation in Mississippi.”
“I see a mean spirited attempt to try to make the laws apply differently to me than they do to you,” he said. “Being LGBT has nothing to do with choice. You’re born the way your creator made you.”
St. Louis Democratic state Sen. Scott Sifton brought up Loving v. Virginia.
“We’ve been here before on the issue of marriage,” he reminded his fellow senators. “Today we’re talking about same sex marriage. Then we were talking about two people with different skin color. And all inside a century’s time.”
Still up at the #moleg fighting discrimination! 13 hours and counting!— Jamilah Nasheed (@SenatorNasheed) March 8, 2016
UPDATE I: 10:47 AM EST –
Note that the filibuster has been running for almost 18 hours now, and senators say they have no intention of stopping.
This article has been updated to note all seven Democratic Senators have been participating in the filibuster.
Image via Wikimedia