The Missouri Senate on Wednesday
approved a bill that seeks to give broad legal protections to
opponents of marriage equality.
Republicans used a procedural move to
kill a 39-hour filibuster by Democrats.
At least seven Democrats lead by
Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal attempted to block Senate Joint
Resolution No. 39, a proposed constitutional amendment which
supporters claim would protect religious liberty and opponents say
would insert discrimination into the Missouri Constitution.
As the filibuster entered its third
day, Republicans cut off debate by submitting a letter signed by a
simple majority of senators. The bill cleared the chamber with a
23-9 vote. A second vote is needed before the bill can move to the
The question could go before Missouri
voters as soon as November if approved by the Republican-led House
The bill would protect religious groups
when acting “in accordance with a sincere religious belief” about
same-sex marriage. Schools, charities and even retirement homes are
among the businesses that could qualify as a religious organization
under the bill.
Opponents believe the bill could be
used to deny housing, employment and social services to gay and
lesbian people who are married.