A candidate for Missouri attorney general wrote to state legislative leaders urging them to pass exemptions for ministers, churches and businesses that do not want to participate in same-sex ceremonies, the Columbia Daily Tribune reports. Josh Hawley, a Republican, said his proposals are intended to provide “targeted protections” for people with “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Via the Columbia Daily Tribune:


Hawleypic“There needs to be a line at participation in a ceremony or a closely related event,” Hawley said. He said the goal is not to create protections for general business owners who don’t want to serve same-sex couples.

Lawmakers return to work Jan. 6. Some conservative legislators and religious-advocacy groups are working on proposals related to the ruling but question whether action is necessary to give churches the right to reject requests to perform marriages for or open their doors to same-sex couples.

Advocates for expanded anti-discrimination protection said current law does not require businesses to serve homosexuals or transgender customers.

“Unfortunately, Missouri does not protect same-sex couples or transgender people in any public accommodation,” said Steph Perkins, interim executive director of PROMO, a gay, lesbian and transgender rights group based in St. Louis. “No one should have the right to discriminate based on sexual orientation or identity.”

The Missouri Non-discrimination Act (MONA), which would add LGBT protections to Missouri's Human Rights Statute regarding housing, employment and public accommodation, has been introduced in both chambers of the Missouri General Assembly since 1998.



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