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Senate gives final OK on measure letting businesses refuse gay customers

The Missouri Senate has passed a proposal creating religious protections for those objecting to gay marriage.

The Republican-led Senate voted 23-7 Thursday for the proposed constitutional amendment after this week halting a Democratic filibuster that lasted 37 hours.

The measure would prohibit government penalties against those who cite religious beliefs while declining to provide wedding-related services to same-sex couples. The religious protections would apply to clergy, religious organizations and some businesses such as florists and photographers.

Senate Democrats criticized the proposal as discriminatory against same-sex couples.

The Republican House speaker backs the measure, and House Democrats don’t have the same filibuster powers to stop the proposal.

If passed by both chambers, the measure would appear on the ballot during either the August primary or November general election.

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