A proposal to allow churches, clergy and certain wedding vendors to decline to participate in same-sex weddings failed to garner sufficient votes this week in a House committee.
SJR 39, sponsored by Senator Bob Onder (R-Lake St. Louis), drew increasing controversy as it moved forward in the Missouri General Assembly over concerns that it was overly broad and would allow businesses besides wedding vendors to turn away same-sex couples. Legal scholars also suggested judges and county clerks would be able to turn down same-sex couples seeking to be married.
The Missouri Catholic Conference supported SJR 39, but acknowledged the language could need some clarifying revisions. In the end, the House Emerging Issues Committee did not consider any amendments and a motion to pass the proposal as approved by the Missouri Senate failed on a tie vote of 6 to 6.
Senator Onder said the proposed constitutional amendment, which would have been submitted to voters for their consideration had the Missouri General Assembly approved it, was dead for the session.