This week during his State of the State address, Governor Nixon called for the legislature to pass legislation giving anti-discrimination protection to employees based upon their “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” The legislation in question would define sexual orientation to include heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality “by inclination, practice, identity, or expression.” It would define gender identity to include appearance or mannerism “with or without regard to the individual’s designed sex at birth.” The legislation further requires businesses serving the public, potentially including Church halls open for public events, to serve and be made available for persons regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Other states that have passed laws like this have made it more difficult for business owners to operate their business in accord with their religious faith or moral convictions. This past summer, for example, the Supreme Court of New Mexico ruled that a photographer was in violation of state law for refusing to photograph a lesbian couple’s commitment ceremony. The court ruled that the photographer did not have the right under New Mexico law to refuse to photograph the ceremony, despite the photographer’s religious convictions. The Missouri Catholic Conference will be opposing this legislation as it moves through the legislative process.
-Elaine Huguenin, the New Mexico photographer who turned down a lesbian couples request to photograph their commitment ceremony.
Posted: January 24, 2014