Leaders of the homosexual rights movement are mounting a statewide petition drive to adopt a new law to provide special legal rights to homosexuals, bisexuals, and so-called "transgendered" individuals. Similar laws in other states have proved to result in hostile attacks on
the religious beliefs and liberties of Bible-believing Christians.
A group calling itself "Missourians for Equality" is proposing an amendment to Missouri statutes which would add the undefined terms "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to the state's anti-discrimination law. Currently, Missouri law prohibits unfair treatment in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on immutable characteristics such as age, gender, race, color, and national origin.
The proposed initiative petition would alter anti-discrimination policy to provide for the first time special protection for a class of individuals based on affective and behavioral characteristics, in this case their sexual preferences and sexual conduct. Under the
change, homosexuals would be able to press lawsuits claiming they were not hired or promoted because of their sexual practices.
Proponents of the measure claim that the new law would include a religious exemption. However, that exemption only applies to churches and ministers. It would not extend to Christian ministries, Christian institutions, and Christian employers. In other states, Christian businesses have been the subject of discrimination complaints and lawsuits for declining to participate in homosexual union ceremonies, homosexual activities, and homosexual-themed events.
Homosexual activists in Missouri are pursuing the initiative petition route because they have been unsuccessful in winning passage of their "gay rights" proposal in the Missouri Legislature. PROMO, the state's leading homosexual advocacy group, has been unable to advance the special rights proposal out of any legislative committee controlled by majority Republican Party members.
In order to place the issue on the statewide ballot, proponents must secure the signature of five percent of the registered voters in six of the state's eight
Congressional districts. The proposed initiative petition is now being reviewed by the office of Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan for certification for circulation.
Due in large part to their lack of success on the statewide level, homosexual activists have up till now been focused on a local government strategy to implement their agenda. PROMO has hired field coordinators around the state who have pushed for passage of local special rights ordinances.
While their efforts to win passage of such an ordinance failed earlier this year in Springfield, homosexual supporters scored a big victory last month when the St.
Louis County Council passed a new "anti-discrimination" ordinance. The bill passed by a narrow 4-3 margin, and was signed into law by County Executive Charlie Dooley
, who was a strong supporter of the effort.
The ordinance requires that any company doing business with St. Louis County must establish corporate policies conferring special employment rights based on "sexual orientation" and "gender identity." More seriously, it expands the definition of discrimination in all places of public accommodation. State law defines such places as any facility made available to the general public.
The ordinance contains no religious exemption. This means that churches who make their properties available for use by groups in the community could be
forced to make their facilities available for homosexual union ceremonies and other homosexual "celebrations." Christian banquet hall owners could also be compelled to rent their facilities for such activities.
The grave problems with the St. Louis County ordinance don't stop there. The scope of the ordinance also covers the sale of any commodity. This could compel a Christian business owner to assist in homosexual endeavors. In other states, Christian business owners have been brought before Human Rights Commissions and state courts for failing to photograph homosexual unions, failing to bake "wedding" cakes for such ceremonies, and failing to print T-shirts for "gay pride" celebrations.State Senator Jim Lembke
of Lemay spoke out against the action by the St. Louis County Council. "It is clearly unconstitutional. There is no exception here for religious rights of conscience and religious liberty. The Missouri Constitution is clear."
Senator Lembke is referring to a provision in the state Constitution that declares that "no human authority can control or interfere with the rights of conscience." If the statewide homosexual rights referendum were to pass, state courts would have to determine whether Senator Lembke is right. We ask you to join with us in praying that that day does not happen.