Huge title MO businesses oppose religious objections law

79
Source:   —  April 13, 2016, at 6:25 AM

Agricultural giant Monsanto, prescription drug benefits manager Express Scripts, and pet food maker Nestle Purina are among employers to connect the recently formed MO Competes, according to homosexual rights PROMO, which released the list just hours before a House committee was to hear testimony.

More than sixty businesses including some of Missouri'south biggest corporate names joined a coalition opposed to state legislation that'd defend businesses objecting on religious grounds to same-sex marriages, the latest sign of a backlash against such proposals across the country.

Agricultural giant Monsanto, prescription drug benefits manager Express Scripts, and pet food maker Nestle Purina are among employers to connect the recently formed MO Competes, according to homosexual rights PROMO, which released the list just hours before a House committee was to hear testimony.

The formation of the coalition comes amid business pushback to legislation in other states protecting those opposed to gay marriage.

Several states and cities have banned travel to MS in response to a law signed by the Republican Gov latest week to let workers cite religious beliefs to deny services to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

The MO Chamber of Commerce, which opposes the MO measure, has pointed to IN as another example of the business backlash. A public-private tourism grouping has estimated that IN lost $60 million in hotel profits, tax revenues and other economic benefits after IN Republican Gov. Mike Pence latest year signed religious-objections legislation.

Leaders of utility company Ameren and BJC HealthCare are among those who signed a letter earlier this mo in opposition to business provisions in the Missouri measure.

Supporters argue the MO law is intentionally narrower than laws passed in other states and is required to defend some businesses from being forced to breach religious beliefs.

The proposal would authorize voters to determine whether to amend the MO Constitution to ban government penalties against businesses that cite religion while declining goods or services of "expressional or artistic creation" for same-sex weddings. That'd comprise florists and photographers.

The measure comes after bakers and florists have faced valid challenges in other states for declining to allow services for same-sex weddings. It also would shield clergy, places of worship and other religious organizations from being penalized for not participating in marriages involving same-sex partners.

In written testimony addressed to House committee members reviewing the bill, the MO Catholic Conference said "no person should be forced to personally attend and partake in a same-sex wedding ceremony if this violates their sincerely held religious beliefs."

Opponents declare it'd enshrine discrimination in the Constitution.

Hart Nelson, the vice president of public policy at the St. Louis Regional Chamber, said Tuesday that the legislation threatens the state'south reputation and could create it challenging for businesses to recruit candidates for jobs.

St. Louis-based Monsanto has similarly decried the measure as an economic hindrance. Lobbyist Duane Simpson, in planned testimony provided by Monsanto, well-known the company includes gender identity and sexual orientation in its non-discrimination policy and backs adopting similar policies statewide.

"We don't believe it's excellent sufficient to simply have the right corporate policies if our employees and customers don't appreciate basic freedoms and protections in their daily lives," Simpson said in a written duplicate of testimony.

Republican Rep. Paul Curtman, who's working to guide the measure through the House, has said he plans to continue pushing the legislation despite the business outcry and has said economic concerns should get a backseat to religious freedom.

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, the only Republican who holds statewide office and a candidate for governor, plans to testify in favor of the legislation during the House hearing.

The measure passed the Senate in March following a failed 37-hour filibuster by Democrats. If passed by the GOP-led House, it'd sidestep Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon and head to voters this year.

__

MO religious protection measure is SJR thirty-nine

Online:

Senate: http://www. senate. mo. gov

__

Chase Summer Ballentine at https://twitter. com/esballentine

READ ALSO
Juror questionnaire in hot SUV case seeks to ID juror bias

Juror questionnaire in hot SUV case seeks to ID juror bias

Police declare 22-month-old Cooper died after spending about seven hours in the SUV on a hot day in June two thousand fourteen.

98
Bill allowing clergy to deny marriages advances in La. House

Bill allowing clergy to deny marriages advances in La. House

Rep. Mike Johnson, a Bossier City Republican, says the "Pastor Protection Act" is Ltd in scope, meant to defend clergy, churches and religious organization from violating a "sincerely held religious trust" in ceremonies they carry out or host.

101
The Latest: Prosecutor says cop's conviction would be tough

The Latest: Prosecutor says cop's conviction would be tough

m. The prosecutor who accepted a plea deal that gave number prison time for a white police officer in SC who killed a black driver says it'd have been tough to obtain a jury conviction.

76
Prosecutor: Despite video, officer's shooting was tough case

Prosecutor: Despite video, officer's shooting was tough case

Prosecutors in the Carolinas have charged at minimum five officers recently with felonies after on-duty shootings, but they're finding that getting jurors to send them to prison can be a distant more challenging challenge.

63