Despite the fact that seven Missouri Senate democrats filibustered for almost 36 hours to try block the state legislature from codifying an anti-gay discrimination into state law via Senate Joint Resolution 39 the Missouri House how vowed that it will take up the anti-LGBT “License to Discriminate” bill this week.
The amendment that would protect any religious organization and individuals who oppose same-sex marriage and would protect those who wish to discriminate from any government “penalty.” The state would be prohibited from altering the tax treatment of an organization or denying it any accreditation, license, or certification. One section specifically refers to withholding any benefit, custody award, foster home placement, or adoption, indicating protections specifically for child placement agencies that would refuse to serve same-sex families.
Under the legislation, a cake decorator or any retail store for example, could refuse, on religious grounds, to provide services to LGBT couples.
Sarah Rossi, director of advocacy and policy at the American Civil Liberties Union in Missouri, says the language in the bill goes even further, applying also to social service entities.
She says a homeless shelter with a religious affiliation could turn away a family in need.
“That homeless shelter can say, ‘We’re not going to let you, your wife and your children in here because it is against our religious beliefs that two women should be able to marry each other,'” Rossi explains. “And they can shut their doors on that couple and their family.”
SJR 39 is expected to be approved in the House. From there though it does not go to the Governor who has come out against the bill but will go to Missouri voters, either in the August primary or the November general election.
Netroots Nation the largest progressive political conference in America will be held in St. Louis in July.
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