Maybe the state seal of Missouri says it all: “United we stand, divided we fall.”
It was known as Senate Joint Resolution No. 39, and on April 27, 2016, the House Committee voted down the radical anti-LGBT amendment to the constitution of the state of Missouri. The vote was 6-6. This is major news, and something other states around the country will continue watching.
The resolution would have led to a ballot measure aimed to protect certain religious organizations and individuals from being penalized by the state because of their sincere religious beliefs or practices concerning marriage between two persons of the same sex.
SJR39 Denies Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender Citizens
For instance, if voters had later approved the resolution at the polls, the state could then have denied LGBT people any entitlement, social service benefit, health care benefit, custody award, foster home placement, or adoption from, to, or by any religious organization.
Major Companies Against Anti-LGBT Measure
Overwhelmingly, support to the Lesbian, Gay Bi-Sexual and Transgender community came in heavy hitters like Dow Chemical; Time Warner; T-Mobile; Monsanto; Pfizer; MasterCard, Nestle Purina and some 50 others determined to stop SJR39. People knew that the state’s economy and businesses could take a huge hit if the extreme resolution had gained further momentum. Both the presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton and candidate Bernie Sanders strongly spoke out against the anti-Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender measure.
Clinton used social media like Twitter to show her support, stating:
“Marriage equality is the law. I stand with those filibustering in MO to make sure discrimination won’t be.”
Human Rights Campaign Pushed Hard for LGBTs
HRC Chairman Chad Griffin had sent a passionate plea in an open letter to the state house committee before their vote, urging members to stand behind the LGBT community, saying that fellow Missourians are not the kind of folks who discriminate based on who someone is or what someone looks like.
Griffin’s letter read in part:
“The vast majority of Americans believe laws like these — which are designed to make LGBT people second-class citizens in their own homes, schools and communities — are wrong.”
Reading Between the Lines of SJR39
If Senate Joint Resolution No.39 had made its way through the House Committee, it would have gone immediately to a public vote. The passage of such a measure could have done more than merely protect the right of free exercise of one’s religion. The way the measure was laid out, could have also paved the way for discrimination against same-sex couples, their families, and those who love them.
SJR39 Dead for now, but….
For now, Missourians don’t have to worry about voting on whether the state Constitution should protect objectors to same-sex marriage from penalties or lawsuits. However, SJR39 could resurface again next year in a differently worded proposal to the House.
Former Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz had also used the Twitter platform to rally with those in favor of the anti-LGBT resolution:
“Missouri: Remember in November the Democrats who filibustered over 30 hours to fight against religious liberty. #DefendReligiousLiberty”
It’s known as the “Show Me State.” Missourians have come to embrace the term as an symbol of pragmatism and realism in everyday life.