Business outcry doesn't stop Missouri religious-objections

11 months 2 weeks 6 days ago April 02, 2016 Apr 2, 2016 Saturday, April 02 2016 Saturday, April 02, 2016 10:03:00 AM CDT in News
By: The Associated Press

 


JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Despite mounting opposition from top business groups to religious objection bills that have been proposed in several conservative states in the past year, some Missouri Republican legislators say they will press on with their efforts to protect businesses that deny services for same-sex weddings, based on a religious belief.

Days after Georgia's Republican governor, Nathan Deal, vetoed a religious objections bill in his state, those behind Missouri legislation that would add a religious protection component to the state constitution say concerns about the potential economic fallout are overblown and they think people's religious rights are more important.

"These predictions of economic Armageddon are nonsense," said sponsor Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis.

Since passing the Senate on March 10 after a failed 37-hour filibuster by Democrats who argued the measure would permit discrimination, business groups such as the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and major employers in the state including agricultural giant Monsanto and MasterCard have slammed the legislation and cautioned that Missouri could face similar financial consequences as other states with newly passed religious-objections laws.

The measure awaits a hearing in the House, where some Republicans are taking a more cautious approach, including GOP House Speaker Todd Richardson, who cited new concerns about how it might impact business.

Indiana's Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed a watered-down version of a religious-objections bill following an outpouring of business opposition last year. Still, Visit Indy, a public-private Indianapolis tourism booster group, reported that a dozen conventions cited the religious objections law as part of the reason they located elsewhere, at a loss of at least $60 million in hotel profits, tax revenues and other economic benefits.

Deal vetoed the Georgia bill after more than 500 companies joined a coalition against it headed by Coca-Cola. The Walt Disney Co. and Marvel Studios threatened to leave the state, and the NFL suggested Atlanta could lose bids for upcoming Super Bowls.

Onder argues that his proposal is narrower than legislation passed in those states. It's aimed at barring the government from punishing businesses that cite religious objections while declining to provide goods or services of "expressional or artistic creation" for same-sex weddings.

Critics say religious objections laws amount to an invitation to discriminate against people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, and that Missouri's proposed amendment would have more far-reaching consequences than its backers describe. If passed by the Legislature, it would bypass Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon and head to voters, who could pass it with a simple majority vote this year.

Onder also said Indiana's overall economy still is doing well, and that Houston hasn't suffered economically after voters defeated a broad equal-rights ordinance last year that would have extended protections in employment, housing and public spaces on the basis of race, sexual orientation, gender identity and other categories. The mayor and other proponents had said its defeat could have led to economic boycotts or hurt plans to host the Super Bowl in 2017, but the NFL has said the vote won't affect Super Bowl plans.

Rep. Paul Curtman, the House handler of the Missouri bill, also said Thursday that economic concerns should take a backseat to religious freedom.

"The Bill of Rights is more important than any business deal," Curtman said. "I don't think you should ever sacrifice the First Amendment for the sake of a business prospect that somebody might have."

House leaders have taken a more cautious approach in recent days.

Richardson, who expressed concern that people's religious freedom was in jeopardy during his speech to open the legislative session, said Thursday that he expects a "long and full review" in the House. He called criticism of the legislation from businesses "concerning, as it's been in other states with this issue."

"The notion of religious freedom is very important. It's something that we always have to be mindful of," Richardson said. "We also have a very rich tradition in this state of not tolerating discrimination."

Rep. Anne Zerr, a St. Charles Republican who serves on the committee set to review the measure, said as a commerce committee chairwoman she's obligated to consider any potential impact the measure could have on the economy.

"Would this really be a detriment to the businesses in our state?" Zerr said, adding that the House "may need to amend this if there are unintended consequences."

Emerging Issues Committee chairman Rep. Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield, said he plans to hold a hearing on the legislation in the next several weeks. 

 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Chamber of Commerce hosted a forum for the Columbia Public School's school board and Boone Hospital... More >>
3 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 7:54:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is backing a contested health care overhaul proposed in the U.S. House.... More >>
4 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 6:23:27 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - As students and families are preparing to go on spring break trips, the Columbia/Boone County Public Health and... More >>
5 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 5:52:00 PM CDT in News
CAMDEN COUNTY - A confrontation between neighbors ended with a man shooting two dogs, the Camden County Sheriff's Office said.... More >>
5 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 5:44:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Lincoln University's president, Kevin D. Rome, will resign effective June 30 and the next day take over... More >>
6 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 5:03:00 PM CDT in News
ST. CLAIR (AP) — Firefighters who put out a blaze in an eastern Missouri woode d area found a man's... More >>
7 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 4:08:16 PM CDT in News
CAMDEN COUNTY - A man who investigators say sexually assaulted a 14-year-old female victim on Monday has been charged with... More >>
7 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 3:42:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A federal court convicted a Columbia man on charges related to child pornography and sexual exploitation of... More >>
8 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 3:08:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - A packed audience learned about the connection between obesity and sleep problems Thursday in the Monsanto Auditorium at... More >>
8 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 2:36:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA— A bill supported by representatives on both sides of the aisle aims to change the way childcare subsidies are... More >>
8 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 2:24:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Residents of Mid-Missouri are accustomed to seeing the large rotunda of the Capitol building in Jefferson City... More >>
8 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 2:20:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Police arrested a man Tuesday after witnesses from a deadly shooting connected him with the crime scene. ... More >>
9 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 1:19:00 PM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — The first African-American to lead the police department in Kansas Cit y, Missouri, i s planning... More >>
10 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 1:08:00 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Fraud charges have been filed against a man accused of e nrolling in a Missouri co... More >>
10 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 12:36:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA (AP) — A Missouri m an has been indicted for allegedly sex trafficking three female victims, including a minor.... More >>
10 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 12:26:00 PM CDT in News
FULTON - Police arrested a man who led officers on a short chase and had a crystallike substance in his... More >>
10 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 12:13:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia residents rallied in front of U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler's office Thursday morning, asking the Missouri congresswoman to... More >>
10 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 12:11:00 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Justice Department attorney says Ferguson, Missouri, i s making "meaningful progress" in enacting policing and... More >>
11 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 11:31:00 AM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 68°
11pm 65°
12am 64°
1am 64°
2am 64°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

10:35p
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
11:37p
Late Night with Seth Meyers
12:37a
Last Call with Carson Daly
10:30p
The King of Queens
11:00p
Rules of Engagement
11:30p
Rules of Engagement

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Superstore
7:30p
Powerless
8:00p
Chicago Med
9:00p
The Blacklist: Redemption
7:00p
Supernatural
8:00p
Supernatural
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld