The House handler of a proposed Constitutional amendment to bar penalties or lawsuits against businesses and religious organizations who refuse services in same-sex marriages has until the end of House business on Tuesday to try to resurrect it.
The proposed amendment failed on a tie vote in a House committee last week, but under House rules, its handler in the chamber has three days after that vote to find 81 other representatives who will vote for it to advance. If that vote would be successful, the measure would be in the hands of the House Select Standing Committee on Rules.
Representative Paul Curtman (R-Pacific) is carrying SJR 39 in the House and told Missourinet those votes are being sought.
“I would be very reluctant to make a motion under these circumstances unless bill actually had a constitutional majority of the members of our General Assembly who actually wanted to do it. That’s the only way that I would consider doing it,” said Curtman. “I think that I’m still several members shy of actually being able to use that motion to make the bill move.”
House Speaker Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff) has said he would let “the process work” on this measure. Curtman said an attempt to bring the bill to the floor despite the committee vote is part of the process.
“These are rules that the House of Representatives have voted on to approve so it’s all part of the process. Every part of our rules is part of the process so there’s certainly other ways that bills can move if the support’s there,” said Curtman.
Curtman says he wants Missouri voters to have the final say on the resolution, not the legislature.
“As the bill’s sponsor I think it’s my obligation and my responsibility to continue to advocate for my bills in any way that the rules would allow me to allow them to move,” said Curtman.
Supporters of SJR 39 say it protects the religious freedom of those who have an objection to same-sex marriage. Opponents say it would protect discrimination against the LGBT community.