Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Missouri Shows How to Work through a Contentious Issue

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Missouri Shows How to Work through a Contentious Issue

Article excerpt

For several weeks now, one of the most discussed topics in the Missouri Capitol has been Senate Joint Resolution 39. Fortunately, the House committee considering this legislation has determined that this flawed bill will not advance. This is good news and also shows why Missouri is a great place to live and work.

As business leaders committed to Missouri we objected to this measure for many reasons. First of all, every Missourian deserves to be treated fairly and with respect no matter what their sexual orientation is. We also felt SJR 39 would significantly hinder our ability to attract and compete for world-class talent. The legislation sought to redefine the term "religious organization" to include many for-profit businesses. Those businesses could have discriminated against same-sex couples in employment, housing and public accommodations.

In short, we felt that if this legislation passed, it would send the wrong signal across the country about who we are and what we stand for here in the Show-Me State. Similar legislation has been passed in other states, and the backlash from a wide array of citizens, businesses and others has been strong and continues. We didn't want to see that happen in Missouri.

This state means a lot to us. It means a lot to our families, our colleagues and our companies. When you care about a place, you want to see it be the very best it can be. That's why we participated in this important discussion over the last several weeks. That's why we worked hard to make sure people understood our point of view. That is why we encouraged legislators to consider all points of view. And, very clearly, many people, with differing points of view, weighed in with their lawmakers. That is how the process should work.

We recognize this has been a difficult debate for many. Legislators and others have expressed genuine concerns about the rights of all individuals to exercise their personal religious beliefs. Despite the difficulties, the debate around SJR 39 in Missouri demonstrates that even an emotional and contentious issue can be dealt with through thoughtful and civil discussion. …

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