JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - On the same day as the Emerging Issues Committee has scheduled a hearing on SJR 39, businesses from across Missouri have joined together to form Missouri Competes, a nonpartisan business coalition to stop it.

SJR 39 would create a constitutional amendment for a public, statewide vote, that would allow businesses and social services to refuse services to same-sex couples based on religious beliefs.

"Regions and states will succeed or fail in large part based on the quality of their workforce. It hurts our economy if we put barriers in place that keep some of the best and most talented people from wanting to live and work in Missouri,” said Hart Nelson, Vice President of Public Policy at the St. Louis Regional Chamber. “SJR 39 is a discriminatory bill that threatens Missouri’s reputation as a good place to work and raise a family, and which undermines our efforts to grow a vibrant economy here in St. Louis. We oppose SJR 39 and strongly urge House lawmakers to reject enshrining discrimination in our state constitution.”

If passed in the House, SJR 39 could not be vetoed by Governor Nixon, instead it would be placed on the ballot for Missouri voters to decide. This historic vote would make Missouri the first state to vote on religious freedom.

Some of the businesses in the coalition include Pfizer, Nestle Purina, MasterCard, Monsanto, Marriott International, Mark Twain Financial Group, Express Scripts, Google Fiber, Salesforce, Square, Bryan Cave, Dow Chemical Company, BNIM, and Geotechnology Inc.

“We strongly urge the members of the Emerging Issues Committee to stop SJR 39 in its tracks,” said Steph Perkins, Executive Director of PROMO, Missouri's statewide LGBT advocacy organization. “In the past weeks, we have heard strong opposition to this bill from multiple Chambers of Commerce, sports commissions and associations, CEOs, business leaders, clergy, and thousands of Missourians. SJR 39 is bad for business and bad for Missouri, and we hope the committee members will seize their opportunity to stop this bill once and for all.”



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