Senator Onder's bill is a response to two disturbing developments in the public arena. The first was the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court last June to redefine the institution of marriage. In a case known as Obergefell v. Hodges
, the High Court declared that same-sex individuals have a "fundamental right" to be "married."
In so doing, the Supreme Court transformed the nature, purpose, and meaning of marriage to include relationships which God has declared to be an abomination. The High Court accomplished this by ignoring longstanding legal precedent that a "fundamental right" must be rooted deeply in the nation's history and traditions.
The second development is a rash of laws being adopted across the country which amend anti-discrimination statutes to include so-called "sexual orientation" and "gender identity." As a result of these changes to the "public accommodations" sections of these laws, homosexuals have been empowered to sue or file complaints against Christian business owners who have declined to be personally involved in same-sex union ceremonies or celebrations.
While Missouri does not currently have such a law, local ordinances hostile to Christianity have been adopted in the communities of St. Louis, Kansas City, and Columbia. An ordinance enacted in Springfield was subsequently repealed by the voters.
In the most notorious case nationwide, an Oregon couple named Aaron and Melissa Klein came under attack for declining to decorate a cake for a same-sex "wedding." A complaint was subsequently filed against them and their business, Sweet Cakes by Melissa, for "sexual orientation discrimination." State labor officials found the couple guilty, and levied against them a crushing fine of $135,000.
Such attacks have not been confined to wedding vendors or to secular businesses. A Methodist church in New Jersey lost its state tax exemption when it refused to allow its property to be used for a same-sex union
ceremony. A minister in Couer d'Alene, Idaho, was threatened with charges of "sexual orientation" discrimination for failing to "marry" same-sex "couples" at his wedding chapel.
Christian ministries have also been the victims of discrimination for their belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. The State of Illinois cancelled its contract with Catholic Charities of Illinois to provide adoption services because the agency would only place children in families where they would have the benefit of a mother and a father.
If Senate Joint Resolution 39 is approved by the Missouri House, it would go on the statewide ballot for voter approval later this year. Voters would cast their ballots on the issue in the November general election, unless Governor Jay Nixon decides to place the issue on the August primary ballot. Here is how Senators voted on Senate Joint Resolution 39
FOR: Senators Brown, Cunningham, Dixon, Emery, Hegeman, Kehoe, Kraus, Libla, Munzlinger, Onder, Parson, Pearce, Richard, Riddle, Romine, Sater, Schaefer, Schatz, Schmitt, Silvey, Wallingford, Wasson, and Wieland
AGAINST: Senators Curls, Holsman, Keaveny, Nasheed, Schupp, Sifton, and Walsh
ABSENT WITH LEAVE: Senators Chappelle-Nadal and Schaaf
Senators Chappelle-Nadal and Schaaf voted against the bill on perfection.