Legislation that adds sexual orientation and gender identity to Missouri’s Human Rights statute is scheduled to be heard Wednesday by a House committee in Jefferson City.
House Speaker Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield, has referred the bill to the House General Laws Committee.
“I do think that the conversation on MONA is a good one for the Legislature to have. I don’t know that the issue is necessarily right, but I think that’s what the committee process is for to work through the issue and figure out if there’s a path forward for it,” Haahr tells the Capitol Press Corps.
The bill is sponsored by State Rep. Greg Razer, D-Kansas City, who is gay. Representative Razer’s legislation would prohibit discrimination based upon a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Discrimination would include unlawful housing practices and the denial of the right to use public accommodations.
Razer spoke at a separate press conference on Thursday, joined by other House Democrats. Razer is calling on Missouri House GOP leaders to speak out against the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church’s protest last Thursday at the Capitol.
Razer says Westboro protested Thursday against him and other LGBT legislators, and says it’s time to pass House bill 208.
“People can lose their homes, people can lose their jobs, people can be denied service at a restaurant because they are gay or lesbian,” says Razer.
During his press conference, Razer called on Speaker Haahr to use his influence and power, to help pass the legislation. He spent much of the time referencing the Westboro protest.
“LGBT teenagers are five times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual counterparts. Yet, what we get from the leadership in this building (Missouri Capitol) is silence and inaction,” Razer says.
Speaker Haahr tells Capitol reporters that Westboro Baptist Church “thrives on the attention we pay them, and so I pay them none.” Haahr also emphasizes he’s referred Razer’s bill to committee for the hearing.
The 2019 legislative session ends on May 17, so timing will be a factor. The state Constitution requires lawmakers to approve a balanced budget by Friday, so the budget will get a lot of attention in both chambers this week.
“We can get this done. We can get this done in two weeks,” Razer says.
House General Laws Committee Chairman Dean Plocher, R-Des Peres, tells Missourinet that Razer’s bill is tentatively scheduled to be heard on Wednesday, upon morning adjournment.
Copyright © 2019 · Missourinet