Michael Sam, the first openly gay
player to be drafted by the NFL, on Wednesday spoke out against a
so-called religious liberty bill in Missouri.
Senate Joint Resolution 39 (SJR 39)
would amend the Missouri Constitution to protect organizations and
individuals opposed to the Supreme Court's June, 2015 finding that
gay and lesbian couples have a constitutional right to marry.
The bill's text states that Missouri
“shall not impose a penalty on an individual who declines either to
be a participant in a marriage or wedding ceremony or to provide
goods or services of expressional or artistic creation for such a
marriage or ceremony or an ensuing celebration thereof, because of a
sincerely held religious belief concerning marriage between two
persons of the same sex.”
An individual is defined as “a
natural person or a closely held commercial entity owned by a natural
person or persons.”
Sam told a crowd of about 80 gathered
at the Capitol Rotunda that the measure “does not reflect the
Missouri [he] knows” and that it is “the opposite of respect and
it is the opposite of equality,” the AP reported.
The chairman of the House Emerging
Issues Committee announced late Wednesday that he was delaying an
expected vote on the measure until next week.
State Senator Bob Onder, a Republican,
has said that his legislation is a response to the court's ruling.
He addressed a crowd of about 200
supporters on Tuesday.