Step Forward: Missouri House Committee Votes Against Anti-LGBT SJR-39

By Adam Polaski • April 27, 2016 • 2:33 pm

Great news today out of Missouri, where the House Emerging Issues Committee did NOT advance the anti-LGBT SJR-39, which would place a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot allowing small businesses and individuals to refuse services to LGBT Missourians. The measure previously passed the Senate last month despite a historic 40-hour filibuster from a group of dedicated senators opposed to the bill.


Lawmakers in the Missouri House Emerging Issues Committee voted 6-6 on the bill. The tie means that the bill does not advance forward. We thank the members of this committee for standing up, searching their hearts, and doing the right thing by rejecting this amendment, which would have irreparably hurt LGBT Missourians and harmed the state as a whole.

Freedom for All Americans Executive Director Matt McTighe said today:

“We’re pleased that committee members voted to stop this discriminatory measure. Clearly, Missouri lawmakers have seen the economic toll that anti-LGBT legislation has taken on states like Indiana, North Carolina and Mississippi.  Everyone deserves the right to live and work  in Missouri, without fear of discrimination, including LGBT Missourians.”

Steph Perkins, Executive Director of PROMO, a statewide organization working toward LGBT equality, said today:

“I’d like to thank the committee members for taking time to listen to everyone who opposed this dangerous legislation, specifically the business, LGBT and faith communities. The fact is that no one should be turned away because of who they are. We will continue our efforts to ensure that LGBT community is protected from all discrimination of any kind.”

The vote today included comments from several lawmakers, including Republican leaders who spoke out against the terrible bill.

Representative Mike Colona shared his own story of coming out to his mother. He said, “What message does this send to our kids, their kids, their grandkids if we pass this bill? It tells our kids that we have second-class citizens.” Later, Rep. Colona reflected on the many votes that lawmakers take while serving in office, but noted that often, the most important vote is the one you regret taking. “If you vote for SJR-39,” he said, “I think this will be the one vote you regret and want to take back.”

Just before the vote, Republican Rep. Jim Hansen delivered moving comments about why he must vote against SJR-39. “I don’t need a law that tells me I can be a Christian,” he said, through tears. “This law is asking me to play God. I have family in this situation, but I love them as a Christian.”

Cheers to everyone who worked so hard to fight against SJR-39, including our partners at PROMO Missouri and the ACLU of Missouri. Their hard work has paid off in this great step forward – and we’ll be keeping our eye on the bill throughout this legislative session.

Learn more about LGBT Non-discrimination in Missouri. 

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