Democratic Senators in Missouri are trying to block an anti-gay law in Missouri – and are talking non-stop in an epic 18-hour filibuster.
Senate Joint Resolution 39, which is backed by the state’s Republican majority, would add a constitutional amendment protecting individuals who want to discriminate against married same-sex couples on the ground of religion.
The law would ban the government from pursuing any “penalty” against those who discriminate, as long as they have “a sincere religious belief concerning marriage between two persons of the same sex.”
However, the measure has been met with resistance from the state’s Democratic Senators, who have been attempting to block the legislation by filibustering – talking non-stop in an effort to halt the legislation.
The bill came to the floor at 4:20 PM on Monday – but the Democrats have talked it out for over 18 hours and counting without a break, refusing to bow to pressure and preventing the law from coming to a vote.
Opponents of the law have vowed to filibuster for as long as they need to, talking out the bill to prevent it from being heard.
Under the Missouri Senate’s rules, the lawmakers are able to prevent the law from coming to a vote – and their speeches do not need to be relevant to the topic.
So far, Senators have talked about everything from food to their childhood – with Democratic Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal speaking at length about her love of playing dominoes.
She said: “I can do this all day… this is my prime time.”
JoDee Winterhof of the Human Rights Campaign said: “These Missouri Senate Democrats working throughout the night to stop this outrageous assault on LGBT Missourians and their families are our heroes.
“This resolution has nothing to do with religious liberty and everything to do with enshrining anti-LGBT discrimination into the Missouri Constitution.
“We are incredibly grateful for these state senators who are standing up against overwhelming odds to proclaim that hate and discrimination are not Missouri values.”
Though monumental, the record for a filibuster in the state is 38 hours – and it remains to be seen whether the Democrats will make it that long.