News (USA)

Missouri religious exemptions proposal fails in committee

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri religious objections proposal failed to get the approval of a key legislative committee on Wednesday in a setback for conservatives who hoped to add protections for those who cite their faith in denying services such as flowers or cakes for same-sex weddings.

Members of a House committee voted 6-6, with a tie vote not enough to advance the measure.

Supporters argued it’s needed to shield businesses from being forced to provide services that violate their religious beliefs following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year legalizing marriage of same-sex couples in all states.

Three Republicans joined the committee’s three Democratic members to vote down the measure in committee. Six other Republicans voted for it.

“They call it religious freedom,” said Republican Rep. Jim Hansen, who wept before voting against the legislation. “I feel that I’m free in this country to worship the way I want. And I don’t need a law to tell me how to worship. I don’t need a law passed to make it legal to be Christian.”

The legislation previously passed the Senate following a 37-hour filibuster by Democrats.

Under House rules, bills that fail to advance in a committee because of a tie vote can be revived by a majority vote of the full chamber within the next three legislative days. It wasn’t immediately clear Wednesday whether supporters would pursue that option.

Tennessee governor signs religious exemptions into law

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