Religious leaders say Missouri resolution is veiled attempt to l - KCTV5

Religious leaders say Missouri resolution is veiled attempt to legalize discrimination

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Missouri is considering a resolution that could change the state Constitution, giving more protection to business owners who refuse to do business with same-sex couples. (Dwain Crispell/KCTV) Missouri is considering a resolution that could change the state Constitution, giving more protection to business owners who refuse to do business with same-sex couples. (Dwain Crispell/KCTV)
Some local leaders are doing whatever they can to stop the resolution from happening, saying they believe making the bill law would have devastating consequences on the local economy. (Dwain Crispell/KCTV) Some local leaders are doing whatever they can to stop the resolution from happening, saying they believe making the bill law would have devastating consequences on the local economy. (Dwain Crispell/KCTV)
Nearly 20 clergy from several different faiths stood together Wednesday afternoon, taking a stand against Senate Joint Resolution 39. (Dwain Crispell/KCTV) Nearly 20 clergy from several different faiths stood together Wednesday afternoon, taking a stand against Senate Joint Resolution 39. (Dwain Crispell/KCTV)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Missouri is considering a resolution that could change the state Constitution, giving more protection to business owners who refuse to do business with same-sex couples.

Some local leaders are doing whatever they can to stop the resolution from happening, saying they believe making the bill law would have devastating consequences on the local economy.

Nearly 20 clergy from several different faiths stood together Wednesday afternoon, taking a stand against Senate Joint Resolution 39.

It would provide protection for business owners in Missouri who say they have religious objections to same-sex marriage, allowing them the option to refuse service based on those beliefs.

The bill has already passed the state Senate and up next is the House. If it makes it through there, it would then be up for voters to decide.

The clergy who assembled Wednesday said it’s nothing but an opportunity to discriminate against those in the LGBTQ community.

“It’s really a measure that is thinly disguised as religious freedom that’s just outright bigotry. I don’t think it takes a person of great learning to see that when you actually read the text of the bill,” said Most Venerable Sunyanda Dharma of the United Buddhist Church.

They spoke of their respective congregations not wanting to be lumped in with lawmakers who want to use religion as a weapon against a segment of society they don’t like.

Some feared lawmakers are heading down a dangerous path of anti-LGBTQ legislation.

“Does that mean that tailors and dressmakers would likewise not serve them? What about the members of their family, what about allies and friends who happen to be heterosexual? Where does it end?” said Rev. Chase Peeples with Country Club Congregational United Church of Christ.

Other clergy said big companies have voiced their concerns about the resolution. They are worried the financial fallout for cities like Kansas City could be as bad as the political.

“It allows for discrimination that most people won’t tolerate anymore. The Big 12 has already said this is a deal breaker for us. We’re not interested in doing business in a state that has this kind of separate, but equal is what we heard some of our colleagues say,” said Rev. Donna Simon with St. Mark Hope and Peace Lutheran Church.   

She said there is a simple reason why the bill isn’t needed.

“Religious freedom is already protected by the Constitution and by state and federal law. We don’t need a law to protect religious freedom – we need a law if people want an excuse to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples,” Simon said.

Those who spoke Wednesday said, in Indiana, their religious freedom restoration act has already cost the state $60 million and as many as 12 conventions.

On the Kansas side, the House passed a bill that allows faith-based groups on college campuses to restrict their membership to “like-minded” people. Critics argue it allows the groups to discriminate.

The clergy also has a Change.org petition for people to sign to fight SJR-39.

Copyright 2016 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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