Don’t Legalize Discrimination Against the LGBT Community

Photo by RebelAt of English Wikipedia

Target: Representatives Elaine Gannon, Dean Dohrman, and Dave Muntzel

Goal: Don’t allow blatant discrimination against same-sex couples by individuals and organizations.

A safe harbor for bigotry is coming to Missouri in the guise of “religious freedom.” The latest in a series of reactionary measures against recent progress towards LGBT equality, state senator Bod Onder’s resolution would amend Missouri’s constitution to single out people for discrimination on the basis of their sexuality. If Onder’s discriminatory resolution passes both chambers of the state legislature, Missouri voters will be asked to approve an amendment that would preclude any legal penalties for discrimination by individuals or organizations, as long as they claim to be motivated by “a sincere religious belief concerning marriage between two persons of the same sex.”

The discriminatory “religious freedom” resolution passed the Missouri state senate on March 9th despite a heroic 39-hour filibuster by senate Democrats—Maria Chappelle-Nadal, Jill Schupp, Jamilah Nasheed, Joe Keaveny, and Kiki Curls—and over the full-throated objections of Governor Jay Nixon. Fortunately, time remains to stop this resolution before it harms the people of Missouri. The state house stands between the anti-LGBT amendment and Missouri ballots. State representatives still have a chance to join their Governor, senate colleagues, and business leaders to keep discrimination out of Missouri’s constitution.

By signing this petition you can add your voice to the chorus urging Missouri representatives to stand for equality and against discrimination.

PETITION LETTER:

Representatives Elaine Gannon, Dean Dohrman, and Dave Muntzle,

A resolution supporting discrimination is advancing to your chamber under the guise of religious freedom. Vote against it to ensure that equality, not bigotry, remains enshrined in Missouri’s constitution.

Bob Onder, the resolution’s sponsor, has called his proposed constitutional amendment “a shield, not a sword” and claimed that it “would simply protect people from being persecuted based on their religious beliefs.” Those claims are disingenuous. Analyses conducted by Columbia Law School’s Public Rights / Private Conscience Project on similar legislation in Indiana concluded that the confusion generated by such measures would lead to individuals and corporations “taking the law into their own hands and acting in ways that violate generally applicable law on the grounds that they have a religious justification for doing so.” This proposed amendment promotes confusion, intolerance and oppression, not freedom.

Rather than listening to Onder and his resolution’s senate supporters, listen to the voices of your Governor, your business leaders, and your people. In the words of Jay Nixon, “Rewriting our state’s constitution to condone discrimination would be contrary to our values and harmful to our economy.” The St. Louis Regional Chamber of Commerce concluded that the proposed amendment “sends the message to the rest of the country that Missouri condones discrimination.” The signatories of this petition concur: a constitutional amendment to protect discrimination harms the public perception of Missouri, jeopardizes its economic prosperity, and is morally indefensible.

Join us. Pledge to vote against Onder’s discriminatory resolution.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: RebelAt

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