Senator Parson Defends Religious Freedom

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Senator Parson Defends Religious Freedom

JEFFERSON CITY—After nearly 39-hours of debate, the Missouri Senate advanced a bill asking Missouri voters to approve a Constitutional Amendment to protect religious freedom. Senator Parson called the approval a win for faith-based groups and religious liberty in the Show-Me State.

“Freedom of religion is one of America’s most valued birthrights. Our country was founded by those fleeing religious persecution,” said Sen. Parson. “The Supreme Court decision (Obergefell v. Hodges) has opened the door for the trampling of certain organizations’ and individuals’ First Amendment right to practice their faith. I believe we have a duty to protect our religious liberties and those of our constituents.”

The Senate successfully advanced Senate Joint Resolution 39. The measure is viewpoint neutral. As was said during the lengthy debate, the measure is meant to be a shield, not a sword. It allows the people of Missouri to freely practice their faith according to their conscience.

It is also very narrowly targeted. In scope, it only protects religious organizations and some wedding vendors. A wedding vendor is protected only if the vendor does not want to be forced to be a participant in a wedding ceremony by providing goods or services of an expressional or artistic nature for a wedding or reception.

Sen. Parson said the Senate’s efforts to protect our religious freedom is in no way an attempt to overturn the Obergefell court decision. It does not prevent, stop or make it harder for same-sex couples to marry. The bill prevents penalties from being imposed on those who do not want to be a part of a same-sex marriage ceremony.

“It will allow for a narrow ‘safe-haven’ for people of faith to exercise their religious liberties. We have compassion for people who have been penalized because of their values. We are fighting for the right for people to freely live out their faith. This is not about discrimination; it’s about liberty,” said Sen. Parson.

 The measure still faces one more vote before it heads to the House for consideration. For more on this measure and others, visit