Main | Wednesday, February 26, 2014

MISSOURI: Arizona-Style Hate Bill Intro'd

Missouri GOP state Sen. Wayne Wallingford has introduced a "religious liberty" bill.
The legislation states that a governmental authority shall not substantially burden a person’s free exercise of religion unless the government demonstrates that it has a compelling interest. To supporters of the idea — similar to legislation filed in several other states — the goal is to make it clear that private individuals can use religious beliefs as a defense in litigation. “We’re trying to protect Missourians from attacks on their religious freedom,” Wallingford said. Opponents contend bills like Wallingford’s would allow businesses to discriminate against anyone they do not like, most notably gays and lesbians.
Curiously, last year Wallingford supported an ultimately failed bill that would have added sexual orientation and gender identity to Missouri's Human Rights Act. Wallingford says he modeled today's bill on the ones seen in Arizona and Kansas.

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