Charisma Caucus

Religious Freedom Bill Passes Missouri Senate Despite Democrat Filibuster

Gay Rights Flag
(Reuters photo)

A 39-hour Democratic filibuster in the Missouri Senate ended on Wednesday when Republicans forced a vote and approved a proposal to prohibit sanctions against groups and wedding vendors that discriminate against same-sex couples for religious reasons.

The resolution to amend the state's constitution passed 23-9 after the majority Republican caucus used a parliamentary maneuver to end the filibuster, which began at 4:00 p.m. CST on Monday, said Lauren Hieger, communications director for the Missouri Senate Majority Caucus.

The amendment must be voted on again in the Senate next week before passing to the lower house, where Republicans have a majority, and then to the state's voters, Hieger said.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat, applauded the effort by the Senate minority to block the resolution. "Rewriting our state's constitution to condone discrimination would be contrary to our values and harmful to our economy," Nixon said in a statement on Wednesday.

The legislation is among a series of measures introduced around the country by conservatives in response to last year's U.S. Supreme Court legalization of same-sex marriage. The measures seek to protect religious groups and companies from being fined or punished if they decline to provide services such as wedding cakes or flowers to same-sex couples.

Republicans who backed the amendment said it was about religious freedom, but Democrats said it would enshrine discrimination in the state's constitution.

Given their minority position in both chambers of Missouri's General Assembly, Democrats chose to filibuster, debating overnight on Monday and Tuesday to block the initiative.

"Inspired by senators' heroic stand against discrimination in #MO. The nation is watching & cheering you on!" Nixon tweeted on Tuesday night.

"In our pluralistic society, we should have room to respect the religious freedom of Missourians," Republican Senator Bob Onder, who sponsored the bill, told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday morning. He said the language of the bill was modified in a compromise on Tuesday to narrowly define wedding vendors.

The American Civil Liberties Union civil rights group said it would work to fight the bill in Missouri's House of Representatives.

"This amendment raises serious constitutional concerns because it singles out same-sex couples for discrimination," Jeffrey Mittman, executive director of ACLU of Missouri, said in a statement.

(Editing by Richard Chang)

© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

To contact us or to submit an article, click here.

Get Charisma's best content delivered right to your inbox! Never miss a big news story again. Click here to subscribe to the Charisma News newsletter.

Five ways to deepen your relationship with God, increase your faith and save money!

  • Deepen Your Relationship with God with a FREE eCourse: Click Here to view all of our free e-Courses. Favorite topics include Fear, Forgiveness, Holy Spirit, Supernatural, and How to Hear God.
  • Super Discounts and Close-Out Specials: Click Here to view all our bundles and close-out specials and save up to 86%! Prayer, Holy Spirit, Anointing, the Supernatural and more.
  • God Wants to Anoint Women Now: Rise up and enter the anointing of Deborah, Anna, Esther, Ruth and Hannah. You were called to go higher. Click Here to learn more.
  • Change Your Atmosphere and Circumstances Through Prayer! John Eckhardt's prayer bundle gives you six powerful books to help you pray and change any situation. Click Here.
  • HUGE Bible Sale!: Click Here to save up to 50% off a great selection of Bibles. Plus, get a free gift with each order!

Subscription Special: Subscribe to Charisma for Only $24.97 and get a free gift. With your subscription, you'll receive Born For Significance by best-selling author Bill Johnson. View Offer

Attention Pastors and Leaders: Leadership training and development are crucial for success. Enroll in a FREE 1-hour leadership mini-course by Dr. Mark Rutland. View Details

Charisma News - Informing believers with news from a Spirit-filled perspective