A 39-hour Democratic filibuster in the Missouri Senate ended on Wednesday when Republicans forced a vote and approved a proposal to prohibit sanctions against groups and wedding vendors that discriminate against same-sex couples for religious reasons.
The resolution to amend the state's constitution passed 23-9 after the majority Republican caucus used a parliamentary maneuver to end the filibuster, which began at 4:00 p.m. CST on Monday, said Lauren Hieger, communications director for the Missouri Senate Majority Caucus.
The amendment must be voted on again in the Senate next week before passing to the lower house, where Republicans have a majority, and then to the state's voters, Hieger said.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat, applauded the effort by the Senate minority to block the resolution. "Rewriting our state's constitution to condone discrimination would be contrary to our values and harmful to our economy," Nixon said in a statement on Wednesday.
The legislation is among a series of measures introduced around the country by conservatives in response to last year's U.S. Supreme Court legalization of same-sex marriage. The measures seek to protect religious groups and companies from being fined or punished if they decline to provide services such as wedding cakes or flowers to same-sex couples.
Republicans who backed the amendment said it was about religious freedom, but Democrats said it would enshrine discrimination in the state's constitution.
Given their minority position in both chambers of Missouri's General Assembly, Democrats chose to filibuster, debating overnight on Monday and Tuesday to block the initiative.
"Inspired by senators' heroic stand against discrimination in #MO. The nation is watching & cheering you on!" Nixon tweeted on Tuesday night.
"In our pluralistic society, we should have room to respect the religious freedom of Missourians," Republican Senator Bob Onder, who sponsored the bill, told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday morning. He said the language of the bill was modified in a compromise on Tuesday to narrowly define wedding vendors.
The American Civil Liberties Union civil rights group said it would work to fight the bill in Missouri's House of Representatives.
"This amendment raises serious constitutional concerns because it singles out same-sex couples for discrimination," Jeffrey Mittman, executive director
© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.
To contact us or to submit an article, click here.
Get Charisma's best content delivered right to your inbox! Never miss a big news story again. Click here to subscribe to the Charisma News newsletter.
It's a NEW YEAR! Get ready for a NEW YOU!
- New Year Discounts On Book Bundles & Gifts: Click Here to view all our bundles and save up to 72%! Prayer, Holy Spirit, Anointing, the Supernatural and more.
- Go Deeper with God in a FREE eCourse: Click Here to view all eight of our free courses. Topics include Fear, Forgiveness, Holy Spirit, Supernatural, and How to Hear God.
- Anointed Woman Of God: Rise up and enter the anointing of Deborah, Anna, Esther, Ruth and Hannah. You were called to go higher. Click Here to learn more.
- Never Stop Praying - Prayer Changes Everything! John Eckhardt's prayer bundle gives you six powerful books to help you pray and change any situation. Click Here.
- New Year - New You - Bible Sale!: Click Here to save up to 50% off a great selection of Bibles. Plus, get a free gift with each order!
Subscription Special: Subscribe to Charisma for two years for Only $29.97 and get two free gifts. Gift #1 The Harbinger. Gift #2 The Harbinger II. Both books are by New York Times Best-Selling author Jonathan Cahn. View Offer