Missouri ‘religious freedom’ bill faces setback as it is rejected by House Committee
A ‘religious freedom’ bill which would legalise discrimination against LGBT people has been rejected by a legislative committee in Missouri.
The bill, which has been seen many as legalising discrimination by those citing ‘religious belief’ as a reason to refuse services to LGBT people, failed as members of the House Committee voted 6-6, meaning not enough votes were granted for it to proceed.
A main example of the discrimination the bill would sanction is that bakeries could refuse to make a cake fora same-sex wedding, or a florist could refuse to provide their services for a gay or lesbian couple wishing to tie the knot.
However Representative Elijah Haahr, a Republican and the chair of the Committee said the bill may face another vote, if a member who voted against it changes their mind and calls another vote.
A second committee would be required to pass the legislation before it would go to the House for debate.
Earlier this year Democrats in the Senate attempted to block the bill with an astounding 39-hour filibuster, but the bill was advanced nonetheless.
Those supporting the bill deny that it legalises discrimination, claiming that it is intended to protect religious business owners following the US Supreme Court’s ruling in favour of equal marriage last year
It has also been backed by the Missouri Baptist Convention, and Missouri Alliance for Freedom.
But it has been opposed by businesses, following the passage of similar bills in North Carolina and Mississippi.
There is a deadline of 13 May for the legislation to pass.