A resolution has passed out of the state Senate that would ask Missourians if religious organizations and businesses should be spared from penalties if they object to offering goods and services for gay weddings. After a 36-hour attempt by Democrats to block the measure, Republicans shut down debate. The resolution now goes to the House.
Senator Scott Sifton (D-Affton) said Republicans left little room for compromise.
“Ultimately the proposal that was passed out of the Senate differs in only one sentence from the one that was introduced for the first time on the floor Monday evening,” said Sifton. “So, in all of this, in 40 hours, one sentence.”
The sponsor of the resolution, Senator Bob Onder (R-St. Louis), likes the language that passed.
“I asked if there was concern about places where the language wasn’t tight enough, where there would be negative consequences to something pointed out to me,” said Onder. “We were very open. In fact, the finally adopted amendment did incorporate some of the items of the discussion, but I refused to see the bill gutted.”
Senator Jason Holsman (D-Kansas City) understands why religious organizations were included in the measure, but not businesses.
“When you say that you are going to apply discrimination against a targeted class of citizens in commercial endeavors, that becomes a lot more difficult,” said Holsman. “This would allow for a baker or florist to put a sign on their wall that says, ‘no gays allowed.’ As much as Senator Onder says that’s not true, all you have to do is read the bill.”
Onder said signage is up to businesses.
“I guess anyone could put up any crazy sign they want to but there’s nothing in this amendment that authorizes that,” said Onder.
Since Republicans killed the filibuster on the proposal, Senators spent most of Thursday debating what the chamber’s journal should say about the debate on that measure and how it ended.