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E-alert: Religious Liberties, SJR 39 and SB 916

Starting today (Monday, February 29, 2016) and following, the Missouri State Senate could be debating two of the most important bills related to Religious Liberty in Missouri history!

SJR 39 Is a proposed Missouri State Constitutional amendment which would supersede and prohibit any sanctions or penalties against any church, minister, businessman, or other(s) who chose not to participate in a same-sex marriage ceremony. This is in response to the US Supreme Court’s decision last year to legalize same-sex marriages in all fifty states (including Missouri, despite our 71% statewide vote to prohibit such marriages).

While Missouri cannot refuse to grant or recognize same-sex marriages, our religious liberties should not be trampled under the foot of men in order to force everyone to support such ‘marriages’ in violation of their core values and beliefs!

If SJR 39 can pass the Senate without being thwarted by a filibuster, MFN expects to see it clear the House and go to the voters for ballot approval this coming fall.

SB 916 Seeks to restore the Religious Liberty of church institutions and religious order operations which were taken away by the Missouri State Supreme Court recently. The Missouri State Human Rights Act is a State Statute which creates penalties for businesses and property owners who violate anti-discrimination laws. This State Law was created for businesses and those engaged in economic activities. Churches and religious institutions were exempt from the law when it was created. This exemption was to guarantee that religious organizations can continue to make decisions based upon their religious convictions without having the State interfere by placing forms of affirmative action in front of religious preferences as these institutions make policy and employment decisions.

Recently the Missouri Supreme Court restricted and limited the religious exemption to the State’s Human Rights law to apply only to churches which hold worship services. Thus all ancillary programs and institutions must now fall under the control of the Human Rights Act and the State’s activist Human Rights Commission which reviews complaints and levies determinations based on their progressive opinions! This means all adoption agencies, administrative organizations, colleges and universities, publications departments, financial and pension agencies, etc., etc., etc… will all be forced to hire personnel and set policies based on fears of avoiding politically correct discrimination laws rather than religious convictions!

SB 916 upgrades the Human Rights Act statutory language to clarify the long-standing religious exemption for all religious entities. If passed, it will go to the Governor for approval or veto. If vetoed it will face an override vote in September of this year. If approved by the Governor it becomes effective in late August, if a veto override is needed in mid-September, it would be effective immediately.

Sadly, both bills are expected to come down to party line votes as the opposition is being led by progressive liberal groups who wield undue influence over the Missouri Democrat Party. This means contacts with democrat members of the Senate should be brief and to the point – asking them to please allow these bills to pass so Missouri citizens can live by their deeply held religious convictions. Republican members need to be encouraged to spend as much time debating these bills as it takes to break through any filibusters that are engaged by the small handful of liberal members who may try anything to undermine Religious Liberties!

Both SJR 39 and SB 916 have strong support and backing from the vast majority of House and Senate members. If either bill (preferably both) can come to their final votes in the two chambers, MFN expects they will receive overwhelming approval. The biggest issue at stake in passing these bills are the potential for a knock-down-drag-out-filibuster.

ACTION NEEDED: Please call and/or email your Missouri State Senator and kindly ask them to please actively support SJR 39 and SB 916. Encourage them to take an unwavering stand for Religious Liberties! Ask them to commit to fight for these bills no matter how long it may take to break any potential filibusters that may be engaged by those who prefer political correctness over Religious Liberty!