‘Religious freedom’ bill continues to divide Republicans

Senate Joint Resolution 39, a proposed measure that would grant greater legal protections to certain individuals, businesses and other entities opposed to same-sex marriage, has pitted the lobbying arms of social conservatives and business groups against each other since the Senate passed the bill on to the House last month.

And while certain Republicans on the Missouri House Emerging Issues Committee say they support measure, others aren’t so sure, noting possible legal complications.

The bill was given final approval by Senate Republicans in March following a record-breaking filibuster and moved on to the House committee, which is comprised of 12 lawmakers. If at least three Republicans on the 12-member committee join with the panel’s three Democrats to oppose the measure, SJR 39 will die in committee.

The bill did not come up for a vote Tuesday, marking the third time since public testimony that the committee has met without taking a vote. The panel is scheduled to meet again Wednesday.

If the full House passes the bill as it is written, it would go before voters this year in the form of a proposed constitutional amendment. If the House approves an amended version, then the bill would have to pass the Senate again — a tall task for such a contentious issue in the final three weeks of session.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch


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