Missouri's Six Most Anti-LGBT Bills of 2015

Extremists in the General Assembly have sunk to new lows this session. From legislation that would allow for discrimination against LGBT people on college campuses to bills that threaten Missourians employment or retirement benefits if they support same-sex marriage, this session has a disturbing variety of anti-LGBT policy circulating under the dome.

Here’s a list of the top anti-LGBT bills filed this session, in no particular order of awfulness:

There are bills that would legalize discrimination against LGBT people in Missouri.

Rep. Elijah Haahr (R-Springfield) and Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) have bills (HB104 and SB248) that would allow religious groups on college campuses to discriminate while enjoying all the benefits of being subsidized by public funds through the university. Both have passed out of their respective committees, and could be brought up on the floor at any point.

Other bills filed this session would make support for marriage equality a fireable offense.

Despite back-to-back state and federal court victories declaring Missouri’s 2004 ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, some Jefferson City politicians are scrambling to find ways to oppose marriage equality in our state. Rep. Ed Emery (R-Lamar) SB 555 wants Missourians to be fired for supporting same-sex marriage. Rep. Mike Moon (R-Ash Grove) HB 1107 also wants to take away state employees retirement benefits should they support same-sex marriage.

Sticking with the marriage theme, Rep. Jeff Pogue (R-Salem) filed a bill HB 1337 that would allow local officials to pick and choose which legal marriages that they want to solemnize.

What happened to everyone getting equal treatment under the law? That's how America is supposed to work. 

And finally, there are the bathroom bills designed to make life for transgender people in Missouri harder.

Bills have recently been introduced in several states that seek to prohibit an individual of one biological sex from entering a single-sex restroom or changing room designated for the opposite sex, despite whether the individual self-identifies as a person who belongs there. Rep. Jeff Pogue has two such bills. HB 1338 would require that all public bathrooms, with the exception of single occupancy bathrooms, be gender-divided. Pogue’s HB 1339 would prohibit the use of state funds for the purpose of creating “a gender-neutral environment” unless required by federal or state court order.

What about not-terribles bills to end discrimination and make Missouri a better place for everyone? 

Worry not, Missouri legislators aren’t lacking an alternative to these anti-LGBT bills. If lawmakers truly want to build a Missouri that works for everyone, they will reject extremist anti-LGBT bills and pass MONA to make the words “fired for being gay” history.

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