Missouri Senators Just Used A Trick To Pass An Antigay Bill

Missouri-450x304Well, nice job, Missouri. Not only are you consistently ranked as one of the worst states to live in, but you just found a way to make yourself even worse.

Senators yesterday passed a bill that makes it legal for businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples as long as the business owner cites religion as the reason. (You know, stuff like refusing to bake cakes for a gay couple’s wedding, because Jesus spoke at length about that.) Of course, they claimed that this was all about “fairness” and “free exercise of religion,” but that’s obviously not the case because the law  applies to the free exercise of religion that hates queers. There’s no provision for people who want to discriminate on any other basis — so it’s pretty fair to say that this is only meant to target same-sex couples for mistreatment.

(And obviously they won’t stop there. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest what their end goal is: laws that protect landlords who evict people for being gay; bosses who fire people for being gay; hospitals that refuse treatment to people who look gay.)

Pro-equality legislators did their best to fend off this law, staging a valiant 40-hour filibuster in an attempt to kill it. But then Republicans invoked a legislative trick called “moving the previous question,” which basically means forcing an instant vote, and the bill passed.

Last time the Republicans pulled this trick, Democrats got revenge by killing almost every other bill that session. Maybe they’ll do the same thing in this case, so Missourians can look forward to more dysfunction from their elected officials.

Ultimately, if the law passes it will probably be ruled unconstitutional because it’s clearly meant to target one specific group for no discernable government purpose, and you can’t do that. But it’ll take years and millions of dollars to get there, during which time Missouri will continue to be an awful place to live.