Missouri's New Bill Would Gut State Human Rights Act

Missouri's SB 916 will be heard in front of a Senate committee today, and while the bill isn't technically about LGBT people or women, it will certainly have deleterious effects on both communities.

From Riverfront Times:

...[T]he bill would greatly expand the number of businesses given a special religious exemption from Missouri's Human Rights Act. That law bars discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations on the basis of sex, race or religion — but it carves out a special exemption for religious organizations. Catholics, for example, may discriminate and only hire men as priests. And if a religion (like, say, the Mormons in the 1960s) believes that black people can't be pastors, the law gives them an exemption, too. If it's part of their sincerely held beliefs, they are free to discriminate.

The bill would expand who gets the exemption — from houses of worship and religious organizations, which are currently covered, to also include corporations and associations owned and operated by religious groups. Previously, the Catholic church got a pass; under these proposed changes, Catholic hospitals, for example, would get them too.

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