Tireless Missouri Democrats Continue 24-Hour Filibuster Against Anti-Gay Amendment

"This is a fight we're not going to back down from."

Democrats in the Missouri statehouse are determined to block anti-LGBT legislation from becoming law—so determined, in fact, they’ve been filibustering for more than 24 hours straight.

Senate Joint Resolution 39 would put a initiative on the ballot to change the state constitution to protect “religious organizations and individuals from being penalized by the state because of their sincere religious beliefs or practices concerning marriage between two persons of the same sex.” It would not only protect clergy (who are already protected) but caterers who didn’t want to provide services to for a same-sex wedding, or even landlords who didn’t want to rent to a married gay couple.

Missouri State Capitol building
Getty Images

“We are fighting for fairness and the right for people to freely live out their faith while not infringing on the rights of others,” said Republican Sen. Bob Onder, a sponsor of the measure. “This is not about discrimination; it’s about liberty.”

Of course, such broad language could be used to justify almost any kind of discrimination. As it is, Missouri’s anti-discrimination laws do not include protections for sexual orientation or gender identity.

“We’re more than happy to keep going,” said Sen. Scott Sifton, a Democrat from St. Louis County whose father and uncle are gay. “This is a fight we’re not going to back down from.”

Sen. Scott Sifton

Sifton, above, has been taking three hour shifts, along with Sens. Jamilah Nasheed, Jill Schupp, Jason Holsman, Joseph Keaveny and Maria Chappelle-Nadal.

“This resolution has nothing to do with religious liberty and everything to do with enshrining anti-LGBT discrimination into the Missouri Constitution,” said HRC’s JoDee Winterhof. “We are incredibly grateful for these state senators who are standing up against overwhelming odds to proclaim that hate and discrimination are not Missouri values.”

You can hear the ongoing filibuster here.

h/t: The Advocate

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery