What is SJR 39 in Missouri?

SJR 39 is a bill that would add LGBT discrimination into the state constitution by way of a public vote. Missouri Senate Democrats held a record-breaking 39 hour filibuster of the anti-LGBT bill. Unfortunately, the Senate still forced a vote on the bill, and it was passed out of the Senate in a vote of 23-9.

SJR 39 attempts to add an amendment to the Missouri state constitution that would allow organizations and private businesses that provide wedding services to use religious beliefs in order to legally refuse service to same-sex couples. This includes bakeries and florists, but it could also include restaurants for your reception or dinner rehearsal or craft stores for your supplies. If passed in the House, this issue would be added immediately added to the August or November ballot, and your rights would be up for a public vote.

Currently, the Missouri Human Rights Act does not protect LGBT individuals and families. Without the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act (MONA), which we continue to work to pass, private businesses across the state already have the right to refuse services to LGBT people for any reason. However, many municipalities across Missouri do protect LGBT people. SJR 39 would make these municipalities unable to enforce their own ordinance.

This means that across the state, including in cities where nondiscrimination ordinances already exist, like Kansas City, St. Louis, Columbia, Maplewood, Ferguson, Kirksville, and eight others, private businesses could use religious beliefs as a reason to refuse services to LGBT couples getting married. These could be refused to all same-sex couples, or just some couples, all at the whim of the owner.

Current laws already exempt pastors and religious organizations from nondiscrimination laws altogether. Pastors, clergy, and churches do not have to perform marriages of any kind, including for a same-sex couple.

This danger is expounded by the fact that this bill aims to add these harmful actions to our state constitution by a public vote.

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Businesses and Faith Leaders Stand Up to Proposed Missouri Bill

Businesses, faith leaders, organizations, and residents of Missouri have joined together to tell Missouri General Assembly to reject anti-LGBT legislation. The letter reads in part:

We are calling on you to reject anti-LGBT legislation, particularly SJR 39, in Missouri. Per a recent report from Visit Indy, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana cost the city 60 million dollars and up to 12 conventions. The backlash from these bills passing would make Missouri a less appealing place to work, travel, and live, potentially costing the state millions of dollars.

We are committed to diversity, inclusion, and above all the Golden Rule. These dangerous bills and potential constitutional amendments only succeed in showing people Missouri is not a welcoming state. We should focus on keeping Missouri competitive, not keep people away.

The people of Missouri deserve better than this type of legislation. They deserve to be respected as taxpaying, hardworking Missourians, nothing more, nothing less. Let’s keep hate out of the Show-Me State.

Together as small businesses, faith leaders, corporations, and nonprofits, we say #NotInMyState.


Thank you to PROMO and the ACLU of Missouri to organize these groups.

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MSU Adds Gender Identity and Expression to Their Nondiscrimination Policy

The Missouri State University Board of Governors voted in favor, 6-1, of amending the university’s nondiscrimination policy for both students and employees to include gender identity and gender expression. Other categories that they voted in favor to add include marital status, family status, pregnancy and genetic information. The policy already protects students and employees based on sexual orientation. The updated policy applies to students, faculty, and staff of all Missouri State University campuses.

In June 2014, the University of Missouri Board of Curators voted in favor of adding gender identity and gender expression to their nondiscrimination policy. This decision impacted University of Missouri, Missouri University of Science and Technology, University of Missouri-Kansas City and University of Missouri-St. Louis.

“We are thrilled that Missouri State University, my alma mater, has taken this intentional step to ensure the safety and support of all of their students, faculty, and staff, including those who are transgender.” said Steph Perkins, a Springfield resident and Executive Director of PROMO, Missouri’s statewide LGBT advocacy organization. “Following the repeal of Springfield’s nondiscrimination ordinance in April, we have seen a surge of businesses and organizations take public steps to affirm the local LGBT community. We are proud that MSU is one of those entities.”

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MONA Passes Out of Senate Committee!

The Missouri Nondiscrimination Act (MONA) is making strides in the Missouri Legislature. MONA would add sexual orientation and gender identity to Missouri’s Human Rights Statute, which currently prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations for other protected categories, including race, sex, and national origin.

The Progress & Development Committee, led by Senator Joseph Keaveny, voted to pass MONA, SB 653, out of the committee February 3rd. This is a step in the long process of completely passing MONA. Previously in 2013, the Senate has voted once in favor of passing the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act out of the full Senate Chamber.

We are thrilled that the Progress & Development Committee have helped MONA move forward in the Senate. Without MONA, thousands of Missourians are at risk of losing their jobs and not being able to provide for their families simply because they are gay or transgender. We thank the committee members for their vote and their support.

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LGBT Resource Center at MU

Mizzou is home to an incredible LGBTQ Resource Center and it’s celebrating its 20th anniversary this year!

The Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Resource Center opened in 1995 to provide support to LGB students. It has since expanded services to support the trans and queer communities, as well.

The Resource Center manages a variety of events and programs, such as the LGBTQ Mentorship Programs called Proud Tigers. It is a program that has matched 24 students with 21 mentees in the last year.

There is also a weekly LGBTQ radio show on 88.1 FM, called InsideOUT.

Thank you to MU for the support you give to students in the LGBTQ community!

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