A House committee will consider Tuesday whether to ask Missouri voters if churches and businesses should be protected from penalties for refusing goods and services for same-sex weddings. Dave Simpson with Monsanto said the Missouri-based agrochemical company opposes the measure.
“I think it’s bad business if somebody comes to me and if I own, let’s say a florist shop, and they say we want to buy flowers for a same-sex wedding. Whether or not I agree with it, it’s a bad business decision to not take the money and sell them some flowers,” said Simpson. “The government is not forcing you to sell flowers. You went into business in the public to sell business to the entire public. In doing so, you opened your doors to the entire public and you don’t have the right to say I am only going to do business with some of the public. I am going to do business with the entire public.”
Simpson believes several of the religious freedoms the bill claims to protect are already protected by the Constitution.
Backers of the measure argue that in other states, owners have been put out of business after being sued for refusing to provide services to same-sex weddings. Sponsor Bob Onder (R-Lake Saint Louis) said he believes some deliberately seek out businesses whose owners refuse services in those weddings, in order to file a lawsuit.
Onder calls his proposal viewpoint neutral” and said it would protect those churches and businesses that would deny services for all weddings.
“The point is whether a church takes the traditional view of marriage, one man and one woman, or marries two people of the same sex, both of those churches would be protected,” said Onder.
Onder’s resolution was passed by the Senate after Republicans forced a vote on it.
Brad Tregnago of KSSZ contributed to this story.