JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.– Debate on Senate Joint Resolution 39, sponsored by Senator Bob Onder of St. Louis., comes to a close after nearly 40 hours.
The resolution, upon voter approval, would prohibit the state from imposing a penalty on a religious organization who acts in accordance with a sincere religious belief concerning same sex marriage, which includes the refusal to perform a same sex marriage ceremony or allow a same sex wedding ceremony to be performed on the religious organization’s property.
It would also keep the state from penalizing an individual who declines, due to sincere religious beliefs, to provide goods of expressional or artistic creation for a same sex wedding or wedding reception.
Nothing in the resolution prevents the state from providing lawful marriage licenses or other marital benefits. The resolution also does not allow a hospital to refuse to treat a marriage as valid for the purposes of a spouse’s right to visitation or to make health care decisions. Further, nothing in this resolution shall create a cause of action against a private employer by an employee for termination related to the employee’s religious beliefs concerning same sex marriage.
Persons protected by this resolution may use the law as a claim or defense in a legal proceeding regardless of whether the state is a party in the dispute.
Senate Minority Floor Leader Joseph Keaveny says he thinks this could result in additional discrimination.
Senate Joint Resolution 39 still needs one more vote before moving to the Missouri House of Representatives.