A marathon filibuster by Missouri
Senate Democrats entered its 39th hour on Wednesday
A group of at least seven Democrats are
blocking Senate Joint Resolution No. 39, a proposed constitutional
amendment which supporters say would protect religious liberty.
Opponents, on the other hand, argue that the bill would insert
discrimination into the state constitution by giving new legal
protections to opponents of marriage equality.
“This is a major scarring of equality
in Missouri,” said Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal, a leader of the
filibuster. “We are living in an environment where hatred is
alive, and we as a caucus are not going to tolerate it.”
The question could go before Missouri
voters as soon as November if approved by the Republican-led House
Voters in 2004 overwhelmingly (71%)
approved a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a
Democratic presidential candidates
Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bernie Sanders backed the filibuster.
“Marriage equality is the law. I
stand with those filibustering in MO to make sure discrimination
won't be,” Clinton messaged to her more than 5.64 million
Sanders tweeted to his 1.63 million
followers: “Standing up for our LGBTQ sisters and brothers is the
duty of all elected officials. This should make us all proud.”
Dow Chemical was among the businesses
lending their support for the Democratic effort. “Dow opposes
Missouri Senate Bill #SJR39 and any efforts that allow for
discrimination of any colleague or citizen,” the company tweeted.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT advocate, said that passage of the legislation
would lead to LGBT people and their families being “at risk of being
denied many basic services.”
“Taxpayer funded foster care
providers and adoption agencies could refuse to place children in
need of loving homes with same-sex couples. Taxpayer funded homeless
shelters could turn away LGBT couples and their families,” the
Senator Scott Sifton, a Democrat from
St. Louis County, told The
Los Angeles Times that the filibuster would continue.
“We're more than happy to keep going.
This is a fight we're not going to back down from,” he said.