On Thursday, the Missouri Senate gave
final approval to a bill that seeks to give broad legal protections
to opponents of marriage equality.
Democrats attempted to block the bill
with a marathon filibuster, but after 39-hours Republicans used a
procedural move to break the filibuster and ultimately approve the
Senate Joint Resolution No. 39 now
heads to the House.
Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat,
condemned the legislation on Wednesday.
“Rewriting our state’s constitution
to condone discrimination would be contrary to our values and harmful
to our economy,” Nixon wrote in a statement. “That’s why
Missourians across the state, including business leaders and clergy,
have spoken out strongly against SJR 39. I applaud the historic
effort by the Senate minority to block this resolution and urge
members of the House to protect the rights of all Missourians by
opposing this discriminatory measure.”
The proposed constitutional amendment
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 religious organizations
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.