The first petition issue for the 2014 ballot that might hit the streets is about gay rights.

The legislature has refused to pass legislation banning discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender Missourians.  Missourians for Equality is hoping to start circulating petitions late next month seeking a statewide vote banning that discrimination.

Executive Director Aaron Malin of Kirksville thinks last Tuesday’s approval of pro-LGBT proposals in four states signifies a public attitude shift that he hopes is happening in Missouri.  But he admits a lot of people are opposed to what his group wants. “Fear, I think, is one of the biggest obstacles we will face,” he says.

Malin says the group has a “steep but attainable” hill to climb in getting the issue on the ballot and getting voter approval.  One provision that he hopes lessens opposition is a provision exempting religious organizations from the law.  Malin hopes that reaffirmation of their First Amendment rights will make churches and oher religious groups feel more comfortable with the issue.

AUDIO: Malin interview 14:17