Senator Jeanie Riddle’s Capitol Report for the Week of March 7, 2016

Riddle - Banner - Column - 010715

Religious Liberty: A Protected Right

After a record-setting 39-hour filibuster and extensive debate throughout the week, the Senate finally perfected and passed Senate Joint Resolution 39 on the evening of Thursday, March 10. The resolution, which seeks to protect religious liberties for church leaders, religious organizations, houses of worship and private individuals, is now moving on to the House where it will hopefully be passed.

Senate Joint Resolution 39 proposes a new amendment to the Missouri Constitution that would prohibit the state from penalizing religious organizations and certain individuals based on their sincere religious beliefs concerning same-sex marriage. If the resolution passes in the House, it will then be put to a vote of the citizens of Missouri in August or November this year.

More specifically, SJR 39 protects any religious organization that refuses to perform or facilitate a same-sex marriage or ceremony as a result of their faith. The resolution also protects individuals who decline to provide goods of expressional or artistic creation for same sex wedding ceremonies and receptions as a result of their faith practices.

Freedom of religion is the cornerstone of our great country. Our forefathers fled to America to escape religious persecution from their government, and SJR 39 offers protection from this very threat to citizens and religious leaders across the state.

This resolution is a huge win for religious rights in Missouri, and one that was dearly fought for in the Senate. Following a state-record-breaking filibuster after which the resolution was perfected, the majority caucus spent another day attempting to get a successful passage on the legislation. The hard work finally paid off, and religious freedom has now taken a big step forward for all citizens of the Show-Me State.

It is an honor to be your State Senator and my door is always open to your concerns, questions or comments. Please feel free to contact me at (573) 751-2757 or visit my web page at