The chairman of the House Committee on Emerging Issues told reporters there will not be a vote during Monday’s hearing on the ballot issue. Representative Elijah Haahr (R-Springfield) said it will be later this week.
A vote was delayed last week to give members of that committee more time to review testimony.
A House Committee could vote this evening on whether to ask voters if the state Constitution should protect businesses and religious organizations who deny services to same-sex weddings.
Kirksville Republican Representative Nate Walker says he would support that protection for religious organizations, but says the provision regarding businesses is discriminatory.
“This legislation was ill-conceived and isn’t written well, and I think it’s our responsibility to make sure that if we’re going to put something on the ballot it needs to be constitutionally correct, constitutionally sound, and also doing the things that are important,” said Walker.
Walker is concerned about putting something he considers poorly-written in the Constitution, where correcting it later would difficult and expensive because it would take another vote by Missourians.
“There was a memo put out by a good law firm in Kansas City called Husch-Blackwell and they have found the language in this amendment is very broad, overly broad and flawed. If we can improve it – add an amendment or two to get the bill in a better form, then I would support that,” said Walker.
If the House amends the resolution that will likely kill it. It already caused a record filibuster in the state Senate that was followed by a slowdown of business by Senate Democrats, who were angered when Republicans forced and end to their filibuster and a vote. Senate President Ron Richard (R-Joplin) agrees that if the resolution comes back to the Senate it is unlikely to be brought up.
Backers say the resolution would protect the freedom of those with religious objections. They hope to get that resolution to the House floor for a vote this week.
Opponents say the resolution would build discrimination against the LGBT community into the Constitution.
J.B. Connoley, KWIX, contributed to this story