The governor and other Democrats want to make discrimination based on gender sexual orientation illegal in Missouri, but Republicans controlling the legislature say it won’t happen this year.
In his final State of the State Address, Governor Jay Nixon (D) again called on the legislature to pass the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act, which would bar discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the workplace, housing, and other situations.
“It’s unacceptable that Missourians can still be fired for being gay. That’s wrong and it’s not who we are, and it must change,” Nixon said in his speech Wednesday night. “I repeat my call for the General Assembly to pass the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act … let’s get that done.”
The leader of the Senate’s Democrats, Joe Keaveny (St. Louis), says it’s only a matter of time before that becomes Missouri law.
“I’m extremely optimistic about it. I wouldn’t have filed the bill if I didn’t think we could pass it,” Keaveny told Missourinet. “I, in my own mind, I just don’t understand why we would allow anybody to discriminate against anybody. It just doesn’t make sense to me.”
The leader of the Republican Majority in the Senate, Ron Richard (R-Joplin), was clear when asked if the governor’s call will be headed and that bill will become law this year.
“No. Not in the Senate,” Richard told reporters.
The nondiscrimination act is opposed by business groups including the Missouri Chamber, who says its members don’t like it because it would only create grounds for more lawsuits against business owners.