It was my privilege to listen to the 39 hour filibuster of Missouri Democratic Senators who tried to prevent the passage of SJR 39, a joint Senate resolution that purports to "protect" those with a "religious" objection to same sex marriage by establishing an amendment to the Missouri Constitution. Mind you, these protections were not merely those rights to religious freedom already protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. SJR 39 is much broader. In essence, people who disapprove of members of the LGBTQ society could be free to discriminate - refuse to sell products, rent housing, refuse employment, etc., if they claim being gay, lesbian, or trans-sexual is against their religious beliefs. The First Amendment already protects religious acts. For instance, a Catholic priest need not perform a wedding of a Jew and a Hindu in a Catholic Church. Weddings, funerals and such can be part of a religious ceremony, and are thus protected. No, the Senate Majority sought to include non-religious activities, such as baking wedding cakes, etc. So sad. This legislation, which seeks to put the matter to voters as a Missouri Constitutional amendment, is reminiscent of the Missouri Constitutional Amendment 12 years ago purporting to ban same sex marriage. That amendment is now unconstitutional because of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell last summer. What an exercise in futility based out of fear, insecurity and hate.
How the prejudices of some play out in a sad display of the worst of human weaknesses. We try to stop what we fear. In the past, people claimed inter-racial marriage violated their "religious" views and states declared those marriages illegal for many years. Those laws were an embarrassment. Why we try to control the behavior of others and force them to conform our desires is beyond me.
The 39 hour filibuster was so life-affirming. These Senators talked on and on. Not one of them has declared him or herself a member of the LGBTQ community, but they had their LGBTQ brothers' and sisters' backs. They stood up to protect their constituents, all of their constituents, not just those in the majority. That is what makes our country great, we protect those in minorities. We abhor fascism.
The Senate majority effectively stopped the filibuster by using a little use technique and the measure will likely pass, for now. The Missouri Constitution will probably be amended, because that just takes a majority of Missouri voters. The LGBTQ community is not in the majority. This demonstrates why the actions of the Democratic Senators was so important, and so heroic. With a little time, and a lot of wasted public taxpayer dollars, the amendment will be found to violate the U.S. Constitution and eventually the majority will have to accept that everyone need not believe one way, need not feel one way, need not love one way. We are in the midst of a new civil rights struggle and ultimately justice will prevail.
Thank you to all of those brave Senators, who talked for 39 hours in hopes of furthering justice and protecting others. Than you Senators Maria Chappelle-Nadal, Kiki Curls, Jason Holsman, Joseph Keaveney, Jamilah Nasheed, Jill Schupp, Scott Sifton, and Gina Walsh. We need people like you.