LISTEN LIVE KPR - On Air: Listen Live to classical, jazz and NPR news Schedule LATEST
KPR 2 - On Air: Listen live to KPR's all talk-radio service, KPR2 Recordings

Share this page              

Missouri 'Religious Freedom' Bill Defeated In House Committee Vote

LGBT-rights supporters take part in a rally outside the Capitol in Jefferson City, Mo., on March 31. An amendment to the state Constitution protecting people who object to same-sex marriage failed in a committee vote on Wednesday, effectively killing the bill.

Missouri's so-called religious freedom bill may be dead for this year. The amendment to the state Constitution would have protected people who didn't want to provide services related to same-sex marriages, including clerks, clergy and businesses.

Wednesday's 6-6 vote by a House committee stopped the measure from advancing, The Associated Press reports. Three Republicans joined three Democrats in opposition, the AP says.

The bill, which had drawn criticism from LGBT-rights advocates and the business community, could technically be revived. But Marshall Griffin of St. Louis Public Radio says that is very unlikely this year, given that a lawmaker who voted "no" would have to be part of pushing the legislation forward again.

The bill has been so controversial, in part, because it specifically is aimed at protecting people who believe "marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman," rather broadly protecting religious freedom for all, as The Two-Way has explained. In addition, the bill guarantees that the state wouldn't punish someone for actions taken with certain beliefs in mind.

Before the Senate passed the legislation last month, Democrats filibustered for more than 36 hours, as The Two-Way reported. Senate Democrat Jason Holsman, among those who started the filibuster, said:

"I represent a very large contingent of citizens who self-identify as either gay, or bi[sexual], or lesbian, or transgender. ... I look at this bill and I read it through their eyes, and when I read it through their eyes, I see a mean-spirited attempt to try and make the laws apply differently to me than they [do] for you."

Wednesday, Democratic House Minority Leader Jacob Hummel said the committee vote "will be remembered as being on the right side of history," according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

On the conservative side, the Missouri Alliance for Freedom called the defeat "the opening salvo in a long war," in a statement posted online. "We are not finished. While today's results are not optimal we are not going anywhere. Religious freedom is not negotiable."

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Tower Frequencies

91.5 FM KANU Lawrence, Topeka, Kansas City
89.7 FM KANH Emporia
99.5 FM K258BT Manhattan
97.9 FM K250AY Manhattan (KPR2)
91.3 FM  KANV Junction City, Olsburg
89.9 FM K210CR Atchison
90.3 FM KANQ Chanute
96.1 FM K241AR Lawrence (KPR2)

See the Coverage Map for more details

Contact Us

Kansas Public Radio
1120 West 11th Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Download Map
785-864-4530 (Main Line)
888-577-5268 (Toll Free)