Missouri Senate Minority Caucus
Senate Majority Endorses Discrimination: No shoes, no shirt, no gays
JEFFERSON CITY — After the longest filibuster in the history of the Missouri Senate, Senate Democrats proudly voted no on SJR 39, a proposed constitutional amendment. The measure would enshrine protections for discriminatory actions into the Missouri Constitution. The discrimination would be allowed only against same sex couples and only by private businesses that claim a sincerely held belief.
“Disappointed. I am disappointed that there are attempts to roll back protections for minority groups. I have confidence that the voters of Missouri will make a better choice, should this come to a public vote,” said Senator Shalonn “Kiki” Curls (D-Kansas City).
The Senate spent 37 hours debating the proposed constitutional amendment stretching from Monday afternoon to Wednesday morning. The filibuster gained national attention. Thursday, the Senate remained gridlocked as corrections to the journal were offered, and then a final vote on SJR 39 was demanded. Session stretched to over 7 hours on a day that normally is limited to routine business.
“Thirty-seven hours were spent defending equality. The almost 8 hours of debate today were strictly about standing up to bullies,” said Assistant Minority Leader Gina Walsh (D-Bellefontaine Neighbors).
For Senator Scott Sifton (D-Affton), the debate was a personal one, who cited both his father and uncle as being subject to the refusal of service language. “This language sets Missouri apart in proactively protecting discrimination. Hate has no place here.”
Senate Democrats voted unanimously against the Constitutional amendment. In Missouri, it is already legal to fire a person or refuse them housing based on their sexual orientation. This resolution would enshrine in the constitution the right to refuse wedding-related services to same-sex couples.
“I am reminded of the poem written long ago, where the author did not speak in defense of various groups, because he was not a member of the group. When one man’s religious freedom is another man’s hateful discrimination, then there needs to be compromise. We saw no compromise, and I am concerned as to what group will be targeted next,” said Senate Minority Leader Joseph Keaveny (D-St. Louis).
Contact: Stacy Morse (573) 751-3599