JEFFERSON CITY – More than a hundred LGBT rights advocates participated in an annual Equality Day at the Missouri State Capitol this week.
Equality supporters met with and urged elected lawmakers to support legislation protecting Missourians from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation, and grant local school districts the authority to develop their own anti-bullying policies.
Introduced since 1998, The Missouri Nondiscrimination Act (MONA) would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s Human Rights Statute, which already protects other categories, including race, biological sex and familial status.
The Senate Progress and Development Committee heard testimony on the legislation (SB 237) in February and passed it out of committee last week.
The companion bill (HB 407) in the House was heard by the Civil and Criminal Proceedings Committee on April 15 where it remains.
At a morning rally on the Capitol lawn, advocates called House Speaker John Diehl to schedule a committee vote by chanting, “Pass MONA, What’s the Deal” and taking their message to social media using the hashtag #WhatsTheDiehl.
Article continues belowThe event on Wednesday is an annual event held by PROMO, Missouri’s statewide LGBT advocacy group.
“Republican leadership has even said to us that we have the votes,” said A.J. Bockelman, Executive Director of PROMO. “It’s now a matter of getting them to actually take the vote and get a clean vote on this that doesn’t have additional amendments on a stand alone nondiscrimination bill.”
In 2013, MONA passed through the Senate but failed to reach the House floor. The legislation enjoys bipartisan support.
The Missouri Legislative session ends on May 15.