A specific genre of news story that has emerged during this wonderful time on earth is “[place of business] refuses to [render good and/or service] for gay wedding.” You may remember the bakery in Oregon or the bakery in Colorado or the pizzeria in Indiana. This morning, after a 39-hour filibuster, the Missouri Senate tentatively passed a bill that would make the state ground zero for all further instances of boutique shops choosing not to do business with gay people.
The measure would amend the Missouri Constitution to prohibit the government from punishing individuals and businesses that refuse on religious grounds to provide goods or services for marriage ceremonies or celebrations of same-sex couples.
That could include coverage for florists or bakers, who in other states have faced legal challenges for declining to provide services for same-sex weddings.
Per the Star’s Jason Hancock, the measure passed 23-9; another statehouse reporter had it at 21-11, but that’s rather irrelevant either way. Per the rules of the legislature, the bill will have to make it through another vote in the Senate before it gets sent down to the House. The Republicans think it will pass easily:
In press avail, Republican leaders said third read will probably be Thursday. Nothing can be amended + votes generally don't change. #moleg— Crystal Thomas (@crystalclear224) March 9, 2016
The Democratic minority in the Senate had managed to filibuster the bill for nearly 40 hours before the Republican majority resorted to a little-known provision. Reports the Star:
The maneuver used to cut off debate Wednesday is called “moving the previous question.” With a simple majority vote, a filibuster can be ended and a vote can be forced.
Senate leaders have historically been hesitant to utilize the procedure because it generates lasting bitterness among lawmakers. Last year, for example, GOP leaders used the “previous question” motion on a right-to-work law, and Democrats shut the Senate down and killed all but one remaining bill as retribution.
In any event, if the bill fully passes, the net result will be that Republicans have ensured that Missouri small business owners can choose to make themselves poorer, and anyway, everyone involved still lives in Missouri regardless.