Senate ends filibuster, gives same-sex marriage ‘shield’ bill initial approval (Updated)

Updated at 10:15 a.m.

Republicans in the Missouri Senate on Wednesday brought an end to a Democratic filibuster that lasted more than 36 hours, forcing a vote on a controversial measure that would protect wedding vendors and religious organizations from penalties for opposing same-sex marriage.

The Republicans, who have a supermajority in the chamber, used a maneuver known as previous question to end the filibuster. The Senate then gave the measure preliminary approval by a 23-9 margin. A final vote is expected Thursday.

Democrats had commenced the filibuster at about 4 p.m. Monday.

The measure, Senate Joint Resolution 39, proposes a constitutional amendment that would bar “penalizing clergy, religious organizations, and certain individuals for their religious beliefs concerning marriage between two people of the same sex.”

The measure’s sponsor, Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis, said it’s a “shield” necessary to protect unwilling businesses from being “commandeered” into providing goods or services for same-sex marriages or receptions.

Democrats argue that the measure would unfairly exempt certain people from abiding by the law. They say businesses should be required to provide services to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation.

The measure comes in response to last summer’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis Public Radio


Update: March 9 at 10:15 a.m.

This story and its headline were updated to reflect the end of the filibuster and preliminary approval of Joint Resolution 39.

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