Target: Anne Zerr, Caleb Rowden, and Jim Hansen, Missouri State Representatives
Goal: Praise Missouri’s Republican state senators for joining Democratic colleagues to stop a discriminatory “religious freedom” amendment.
Last month, Missouri joined a long list of states intent on reversing progress on tolerance toward LGBT equality. Between courageous legislators, public outcry, and organizations like ForceChange, we have prevented Missouri from asking its people to enshrine discrimination in their constitution. The defeated amendment would have precluded any legal penalties for discrimination by individuals or organizations, as long as they claimed to be motivated by “a sincere religious belief concerning marriage between two persons of the same sex.” We have much to celebrate in the measure’s defeat.
Missouri Democrats catalyzed opposition to the state’s discriminatory “religious freedom” amendment with a heroic 39-hour filibuster attempt. Governor Jay Nixon joined their stand for equality as well, saying “Rewriting our state’s constitution to condone discrimination would be contrary to our values and harmful to our economy.” Finally, Republicans and Democrats in the state house joined forces in the name of equality to prevent the proposed amendment from passing the committee process. Republicans Anne Zerr, Caleb Rowden, and Jim Hansen reached across the aisle to join their Democratic colleagues and stop a measure and defeat the proposed amendment.
Our triumph in Missouri culminated as the amendment’s republican sponsor, Bob Onder, conceded defeat. If, as the St. Louis Regional Chamber of Commerce said, the proposed amendment “[sent] the message to the rest of the country that Missouri condones discrimination,” its defeat is a forceful declaration of the state’s openness and tolerance. Sign the petition below to praise their stand against discrimination.
Thank you for your bravery and good judgment in joining with your Democratic colleagues to keep discrimination out of Missouri’s constitution.
The proposed “religious freedom” amendment would have been disastrous. 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.” Moreover, similar regressive measures enacted in North Carolina have been met with forceful rebuke, from the censure of public figures like Michael Jordan and Bruce Springsteen, to travel bans and loss of business in the state.
Thank you for recognizing the value of tolerance in your great state. We applaud you, and will remember your role in what Missouri House Minority Leader Jacob Hummel called an action on the right side of history.
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Photo Credit: Fry1989