Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The three things you need to know about Missouri Joint Resolution 39

After a 39 hour filibuster Republicans used a procedural maneuver to bring Joint Resolution 39 to a vote. JR 39 is a license to discriminate. It puts an end to local non-discrimination laws protecting sexual orientation like the St. Louis ordinance. Secondly, the Catholic Church got a nice kiss on the cheek because a religious organization means (among other things):
(b) A religious society, corporation, entity, partnership, order, preschool, school, institution of higher education, ministry, charity, social service provider, children's home, hospital or other health care facility, hospice, elder care facility, or crisis pregnancy center, whether or not connected to or affiliated with a church, diocese, denomination, or other organization of churches, where said organization holds itself out to the public in whole or in part as religious and its purposes and activities are in whole or in part religious;

The children of same-sex couples can be denied admission to a Catholic school and the school  is free to discriminate in its hiring practices even for non-religious positions. Furthermore, this directly impacts the health care of gay citizens if their local hospital happens to be affiliated. They can legally treat gay spouses as if they were not married. This could mean a parent overriding a spouse's care directive. I cannot begin to imagine the many ways in which a religiously affiliated hospital can legally discriminate against gay citizens. It is a scary proposition. In an emergency, depending upon locale, you might not have a choice of which hospital you go to.

Thirdly, it allows for widespread discrimination by individuals and businesses:
(4) That the state shall not impose a penalty on an individual who declines either to be a participant in a marriage or wedding ceremony or to provide goods or services of expressional or artistic creation for such a marriage or ceremony or an ensuing celebration thereof, because of a sincere religious belief concerning marriage between two persons of the same sex.
In ADF's world bakers are cake artists. This permits just about every wedding vendor to legally discriminate in public accommodations. Everyone is an artist when it comes to crafting discrimination.

This now goes to the Missouri House for a vote. If it passes it will become a ballot measure in November with the highly misleading language:
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to provide that the state shall not penalize religious organizations and certain individuals for religious beliefs or acts concerning marriage between two persons of the same sex, but the amendment does not prevent the provision of a marriage license or other marital benefits to such persons?
As I previously wrote there is a major concern regarding any ballot initiative. Outside money is going to pour in and the anti-gay advertisements will pour out. It puts stress on gay kids, their allies and children being raised by gay couples. It puts stress on the adults as well.

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