As in Arizona, which has spurred a national debate with its bill, the bill would require that the government have a compelling interest before interfering with a person's exercise of their religion. The practical impact, according to gay rights advocates, is that anti-gay discrimination would be legitimized.
Wallingford acknowledged that his legislation was intended to protect people and businesses who wish to discriminate against LGBT people, giving the examples of a florist or baker who refused to provide their services in same-sex weddings.
“This is trying to provide a defense in those types of instances,” he said. “We’re trying to protect Missourians from attacks on their religious freedom."