Religious Freedom Bill Shot Down in Missouri

     JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (CN) — A controversial bill in Missouri that aimed to protect businesses refusing to provide services for same-sex weddings didn’t get enough support Wednesday to make it out of a committee.
     On Wednesday, a Missouri House Emerging Issues Committee voted 6-6 on the measure, meaning it didn’t advance past the committee, according to an Associated Press report.
     The resolution, SJR 39, proposed a constitutional amendment that would have prevented the State of Missouri from penalizing a person or organization that refuses to participate in or provide services for a same-sex wedding.
     It passed the state Senate last month. If it would have been approved by the House, it would have gone to voters for the final say.
     JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president for policy and political affairs for the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement that “we must remain diligent to ensure this discriminatory legislation does not move in any other way during the final two weeks of the legislative session.”
     “We thank the House committee for listening to the overwhelming chorus of fair-minded Missourians, business leaders, and civil rights advocates who demanded they oppose this radical legislation that threatens severe harm to the entire state,” Winterhof said.
     Missouri House Minority Leader Jake Hummel commended the Emerging Issues Committee for declining to advance the resolution.
     “The ultimate issue here is whether our state constitution protects all Missourians or grants special rights to some to detriment of others,” Hummel said in a statement. “In the years to come, I am confident today’s action will be remembered as being on the right side of history.”
     Missouri still lacks statewide non-discrimination protections for LGBT people, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

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