A Missouri state house committee has had almost two weeks to think about testimony both for and against the controversial SJR 39 religious freedoms bill.
The bill would “prohibit the state from imposing penalties on individuals and religious entities who refuse to participate in same sex marriage ceremonies due to sincerely held religious beliefs”.
Supporters of the bill say this will protect private businesses who personally don’t believe in gay marriage and refuse service to customers from legal action. Opponents says it’s discriminatory and could hurt the state’s economy.
The House Committee on Emerging Issues is expected to vote on the bill this week. If it passes committee it will go to the voters to decide if they want to make it law. If it doesn’t, the bill will die in committee.
Other states have seen consequences from passing or even proposing similar bills to SJR 39.
The Georgia governor vetoed one of those bills. But before it even hit his desk, major companies like Disney and the NFL were threatening to not do business in the state anymore.
Mississippi has another similar law set to go into effect on July 1. Their law will protect private businesses and some public employees from legal action if they refuse a customer on the grounds that doing so would violate a sincerely held religious belief.
At a commencement speech in Jackson Mississippi, First Lady Michelle Obama took the opportunity to speak out against Mississippi’s law. She commented about “how swiftly progress can hurdle backwards, how easy it is to single out a small group and marginalize them because of who they are and who they love.”
Obama told the graduating class they needed to stand together with all their neighbors, regardless of religious or sexual preference.
The First Lady continued, “the march for civil rights isn’t just about African Americans, it’s about all Americans”.