News (USA)

Hundreds of Mo. businesses voice support for statewide LGBT protections

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – More than 450 Missouri-based companies from across the state, including two of the Fortune 500, are now voicing their support for the LGBT-inclusive Missouri Non-discrimination Act (MONA), which was introduced in both chambers of the Missouri General Assembly in February.

MissouriThis week, Express Scripts, Inc. joined fellow Missouri-based Fortune 500 Company Monsanto in calling on the Legislature to pass LGBT workplace protections.

Other Fortune 500 companies who have a strong presence in the state and have signed on in support of the legislation are ConAgra Foods, J.P. Morgan Chase and Pfizer.

MONA would add sexual orientation and gender identity to Missouri’s Human Rights statute, which currently prohibits discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations for other categories, including race, biological sex and familial status.

The bill would expand the definition of discrimination to include any unfair treatment based on a person’s “presumed or assumed” characteristics, regardless of whether those presumptions are correct.

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“The corporate world has paved the way for LGBT equality,” said A.J. Bockelman, Executive Director of PROMO, Missouri’s statewide LGBT advocacy organization. “It’s great to see homegrown Missouri companies helping to lead that charge.”

Both Missouri House and Senate Committees have heard testimony on MONA over the past two months. Last year, the legislation passed through the Senate but failed to reach the House floor.

To date, 15 cities and counties in Missouri have nondiscrimination ordinances that include both sexual orientation and gender identity, and more than 300 Missouri-based companies have signed on in support of MONA.

Earlier this year, Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat, voiced his support for the bill in his State of the State Address

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