What does SJR 39 do?
It is entirely defensive, a shield, not a sword. It prevents the State and local governments from imposing penalties on clergy, churches, religious organizations and some wedding vendors which, for religious conscience reasons, wish to not participate in a wedding involved two people of the same sex or gender.
Who in Missouri Baptist life is protected?
All pastors and staff, churches, organizations and institutions like the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home, Hannibal-LaGrange University (HLGU), Southwest Baptist University (SBU) and all church-run schools. It even prevents accreditation boards, which are non-state actors, from indirectly allowing the state to punish religious belief about same-sex marriage (further protection for HLGU and SBU).
The definition of “religious organization” is not limited to nonprofits. So, for example, a for-profit Christian book seller, Family Counseling Center, Crisis Pregnancy Center or Publishing House that holds itself out to the public as religious is protected.
Is anyone else protected?
Yes. For-profit businesses are protected if they are closely held and the corporation either is asked to be a participant in a “marriage” or wedding ceremony; or provides goods and services that reflect creative or artistic expression and are asked to provide such goods and service for a same-sex “marriage” ceremony or ensuing celebration of the “marriage.” This would generally include bakers, photographers and florists.
What does SJR 39 not do?
• It does not provide protection for individuals, corporations, or religious organizations who discriminate against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
• It does not protect any non-religious, for-profit business, unless the business is closely held and the business is asked to either participate in a same-sex “marriage” or wedding ceremony, or provides goods and services that reflect creative or artistic expression for the “marriage” or wedding ceremony, or ensuing celebration.
• It does not prevent state or local government from providing a marriage license or other government entitlement to same-sex couples.
• It does not provide protection for a healthcare facility or elder care facility to refuse to treat a same-sex “marriage” as valid.
• It does not provide protection for any action that violates the U.S. Constitution or federal law.