In Missouri, a person can be fired from their job or lose their apartment for being gay, bisexual, or transgender.
The Missouri Senate’s General Laws Committee is reviewing a bill that would expand Missouri’s Non-Discrimination Act. The proposal would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity for things like housing, getting a loan, using public bathrooms, and employment.
State Sen. Greg Razer, D-Kansas City, is the sponsor of Senate Bill 60.
“This just makes sure that people like me can have a job, roof over my head, and stay at a hotel if I need to,” Razer said during a committee hearing today on the bill.
Teresa Nichols, a Missouri citizen who supports the bill, said she’s grown increasingly alarmed about the well-being and safety of her friends and family.
“At this time legislators are introducing and passing laws that will hurt our children and our families and our communities. It’s a scary traumatic time for anyone who is different. It’s a very threatening atmosphere out there. I do not trust that the LGBTQ community will be protected from discrimination of all sorts,” Nichols said today to the committee.
Ray McCarty, with a business group called Associated Industries of Missouri, said his members are opposed to the bill.
“The U.S. Supreme Court has held that title seven of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does include orientation and gender identity and protections under discrimination which means that already employers that have more than 15 employees must follow that,” he said.
Timothy Faber, the chair of the Missouri Commission on Human Rights, said he opposes the bill because it would lead to an increase in lawsuits.
“The caseload of the Missouri Commission on Human Rights would increase exponentially,” Faber said. “This will create an even greater backlog of cases for the MCHR staff than what they already have and more expense for the citizens of Missouri to defend a case that will ultimately be lost.”
Faber is also a lobbyist for the Missouri Baptist Convention.
The committee has not yet voted on the proposal. To view Senate Bill 60, click here.
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