Senator Dan Brown’s Legislative Column: Free and Fair Discussion

It’s been quite a long week in the Missouri Senate. A record-breaking 38-plus hour filibuster brought debate to a standstill over Senate Joint Resolution 39. This measure was crafted to protect various wedding vendors from penalties if they express their right to refuse such services to same-sex couples. Many members of the clergy, as well as florists, photographers, and other service providers have strong religious beliefs that may object to providing wedding services to same-sex couples, even though the law allows such unions to take place. If approved, SJR 39 would allow Missourians to vote on the measure.

This country was founded upon religious freedom, as we fled the oppression of the mother land to be free to worship as we please. These freedoms are still in effect, although the eroding morality of the present day calls for the need to strengthen these freedoms at times.

It is important to note that this legislation in no way affects the rights of same-sex couples to marry, have families, and have happy lives together. Senate Joint Resolution 39 simply allows wedding vendors who object to same sex unions the freedom to express their own religious beliefs by refusing to provide such services.

One of the mottos of the Senate is “Free and fair discussion shall ever be found the firmest friend of truth,” and both sides have had very passionate, lengthy discussions about this topic. Thursday evening, the measure was approved in the Senate and has been sent on to the House for consideration and debate.

As always, I encourage my constituents to contact me throughout the year with comments, questions or suggestions by calling my office at (573) 751-5713. To find more information about the bills I sponsor, visit Thank you for reading this and for your participation in state government.