Former University of Missouri football star and the NFL's first openly gay player Michael Sam has written an op-ed in the Columbia Daily Tribune opposing SJR 39, Missouri's constitutional amendment bill that would sanction discrimination.
"As an athlete who grew up in a Christian home, two things were always made clear to me: First, treat every person, every team, every competitor with respect. Second, everyone should have an equal shot and start on an equal playing field," Sam writes in his editorial. "What Missouri lawmakers are attempting to do, however, is push an anti-LGBT resolution that ensures LGBT people start at a loss."
The proposed amendment to Missouri's constitution would allow businesses and taxpayer-funded organizations to ignore any law that conflicts with their “sincere religious belief concerning marriage between two persons of the same sex." This bill would add to the state constitution the opportunity for any private business with a religious objection, such as a florist or baker, to refuse to provide services to same-sex couples who wish to fulfill their fundamental right to marriage. Even private businesses located in cities with LGBT protections would be permitted to ignore local nondiscrimination ordinances and discriminate against Missourians.
"SJR 39 is the opposite of respect, and it’s the opposite of equality," Sam asserts. "It does not reflect the Missouri I know."