Amid strong opposition from many large corporations – see this St. Louis Post-Dispatch article – the Missouri Catholic Conference (MCC) urged the House Committee on Emerging Issues to move forward with a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow Churches, clergy and certain wedding vendors to decline participation in same-sex wedding ceremonies.
The MCC acknowledged that SJR 39 may need revisions to clarify its purpose. Critics have claimed the proposal would allow many others besides wedding vendors to discriminate against same-sex couples. The MCC said it opposed discrimination against same-sex couples in the area of general commerce but added: “No person should be forced to personally attend and participate in a same-sex wedding if this violates their sincerely held religious beliefs.”
The intent of sponsor of SJR 39, Senator Bob Onder (Lake St. Louis), is to carve out a narrow religious exemption in regards to same-sex wedding ceremonies. However, some legal scholars see the proposal applying more broadly. The House Committee on Emerging Issues has the latitude to amend the resolution and the full House could send the proposal back to the Missouri Senate for further consideration.
See MCC Testimony to read more. Stay tuned for more developments in the coming weeks.