SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Some businesses across the show me state are coming together to voice their opposition to SJR39.
A Missouri House Committee Hearing is underway this evening for the controversial religious freedom proposal.
It would amend the Missouri constitution to protect religious organizations and individuals from being penalized for refusing to participate in a same-sex wedding.
Some businesses across the state decided to form “Missouri Competes,” a non-partisan business coalition to stop the bill.
As of Monday night, at least 100 businesses had signed on.
“We just don’t believe it’s good for the state of Missouri,” said The Old Glass Place Manager Roger Malarkey.
Malarkey says he feels SJR39 is not right for Missouri.
“We don’t want to turn business away in the state, and we feel Missouri could be in the same predicament as other states where large corporations have sent notice,” said Malarkey. “Saying, ‘if you want to do this, we will pull business from your state.'”
The Old Glass Place is just one of several local businesses standing together in support of a state that welcomes all people, regardless of sexual identity.
“We don’t understand why anyone would want to discriminate against them on any basis,” said 2Balance CEO and Owner Sheri Hawkins. “No one should be discriminated against.”
Bambinos Cafe, Springfield Music and the Law Offices of Kristoffer Barefield also stand in opposition.
“We don’t care about what they’re doing in the bedroom,” said Hawkins. “We care about who they are as a human being and what they’re doing at work.”
Republican Senator Bob Onder is the bill’s sponsor.
“What we are asking in the general assembly is to give the people of Missouri a chance to vote on religious freedom,” Onder said. “It’s a shield, not a sword. It’s a shield to protect people of religious beliefs– beliefs that are under attack right now.”
The bill has garnered a lot of attention from both sides of the aisle.
“This is a really important issue,” said Onder. “We need to act now or we might as well put the first amendment of the constitution in the dustbin of history.”
If the proposal passes, it will not go to Governor Jay Nixon’s desk. It’s a referendum and it would be decided on by Missouri voters in the November election.