Lawmakers expected to vote on 'Religious Freedom' bill soon -

Missouri 'Religious Freedom' bill dies in House Committee

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. ( The proposed Missouri “religious freedom” legislation did not achieve enough votes to advance in a House Committee Wednesday.

Senate Joint Resolution 39 would allow some organizations and businesses the right to refuse services same-sex couples based on religious reasons.

In the House Emerging Issues Committee Wednesday, the measure did not obtain enough votes to pass. The final vote was 6-6, meaning the measure will not head to Missouri ballots.

House Minority Leader ake Hummel, a Democrat from the St. Louis area, said “The House Emerging Issues Committee is to be commended for declining to advance Senate Joint Resolution 39. I know this was difficult decision for many committee members and that pressure was intense from all sides. The ultimate issue here is whether our state constitution protects all Missourians or grants special rights to some to detriment of others. In the years to come, I am confident today’s action will be remembered as being on the right side of history.”

In response, Ryan Johnson, President of the Missouri Alliance for Freedom said, "This is the opening salvo in a long war. We are not finished. While today’s results are not optimal we are not going anywhere. Religious freedom is not negotiable. It is an integral part of the Constitution of the United States and we are not about to start picking and choosing which freedoms will be tolerated according to the false doctrine of political correctness. Religious people’s first freedoms deserve to be defended and we will continue working toward that end.”

Last Monday, The lawmaker behind the legislation, Republican Bob Onder, told News 4 the committee considering the measure was not ready to vote. On April 20, lawmakers postponed the vote, which was also fought with a filibuster that lasted nearly 40 hours in March. 

News 4’s Anthony Kiekow said he has spoken with his Democrat sources in Jefferson City who told him the Republicans are working behind the scenes to convince more lawmakers to support the measure.

Many state and local leaders think the proposed legislation could push companies and conventions away from Missouri.

The NCAA, AT&T, Express Scripts and MasterCard have all criticized the proposal. Some call the SJR 39 a license to discriminate and others say it allows people to stay true to their religious beliefs.

If the measure passes through the committee and house before Mary 13 it would be on a on a state ballot for voters.

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