Businesses form group to fight ‘religious freedom’ measure, debate heats up

Debate over a proposed “religious freedom” amendment dragged on past midnight Wednesday in Jefferson City, following a day in which businesses from across the state announced the formation of a coalition meant to fight the measure.

Members of the business group, called Missouri Competes, oppose Senate Joint Resolution 39, which would ask voters to amend the state constitution to protect certain businesses that cite religious beliefs in refusing to serve same-sex couples.

The coalition includes employers like Monsanto, Express Scripts, MasterCard, Nestle Purina, Dow Chemical Company, Square and the chambers of commerce in Kansas City and St. Louis.

A four-hour House committee hearing that started Tuesday night and ended early Wednesday didn’t produce a vote over the issue. The Missouri Senate already approved SJR 39. If the measure passes the full House, it would be put to voters on the state’s November ballot.

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

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