Add Missouri to the list of states where GOP lawmakers have introduced “religious freedom” legislation, which gay rights advocates warn would lead to discrimination against LGBT residents.
The Kansas City Star reported that State Sen. Wayne Wallingford (R) filed the bill Monday.
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.”