A House committee is expected to vote this week on a measure that would ask Missourians if churches and businesses should be exempt from penalties for denying goods and services for gay weddings.
Some legislators say the decision should be made my voters, not by them. Governor Jay Nixon (D) doesn’t buy that argument.
“Whenever a legislator is telling you that their best defense of their bill is somebody else needs to vote on it other than them, perhaps they are trying to take your attention away from the substance of what they have in front of you,” says Nixon. “I don’t think that saying that putting this to a plebiscite is an excuse for putting discrimination into the constitution of our state and limiting our ability to attract both talent and businesses from around the country and the world.”
Nixon says issues involving sexual orientation are generational.
“This is a much different issue for folks under the age of 45 as it is for folks over the age of 45. It just is. Democrat or Republican. Conservative or liberal. Young people find far fewer reasons to concern themselves with the marital status or sexual orientation of their friends, neighbors, fellow students and fellow workers than folks that are older,” says Nixon.
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. Opponents say the measure would protect discrimination, and could hurt Missouri economically.