Missouri House fails controversial religious freedom bill

After a 40-hour filibuster in March and a four-hour public testimony April 12, the bill failed.

Senate Joint Resolution 39, sometimes called the “religious freedom bill,” failed during a Missouri House Emerging Issues Committee session today on a 6–6 vote.

“We are grateful to the bipartisan members of the Committee for thoughtfully listening to the voices of Missourians and doing the right thing for our state,” said Jeffrey Mittman, executive director of American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, in a news release.

SJR 39 stated that religious institutions and businesses had the right to decline goods and services to same-sex couples. The government would not have been able to penalize these organizations for declining goods and services if they proved to have “sincere religious beliefs.”

The bill’s progression to this vote came with obstacles: a 40-hour filibuster in March and a four-hour public testimony April 12 that drew a large crowd.

There has been a lot of backlash nationwide concerning LGBTQ rights in the last year in states such as North Carolina and Mississippi. In Missouri, the House received thousands of emails and over 4,200 petitions opposing SJR 39, according to a news release provided by PROMO, a statewide advocacy organization for LGBTQ equal treatment under the law.

“We’re all Missourians and discrimination against any Missourian is wrong,” Mittman said. “The defeat of SJR affirms this.”

Edited by Hailey Stolze | hstolze@themaneater.com

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