News (USA)

Missouri GOP candidates for Governor address LGBT issues in debate

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri’s four Republican candidates for governor are weighing in on national and state policies that would affect LGBT people amid nationwide discussions that gained traction after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in all states.

Suburban St. Louis businessman John Brunner, former Navy SEAL officer Eric Greitens, former U.S. attorney and House speaker Catherine Hanaway and Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder face a contentious four-way GOP primary Aug. 2.

While policies related to LGBT people haven’t been central to their campaigns, the issues likely will come up again after the next governor assumes office.

Missouri drew national attention this year after some lawmakers proposed amending the state’s constitution to ban government penalties against businesses that cite religion while denying some goods and services for same-sex couples looking to wed. That led Senate Democrats to stage the longest consecutive filibuster in recent state history. Brunner, Hanaway and Kinder backed the proposal.

Legislative leaders have said the proposed constitutional amendment’s later death in a House committee only means it will come up again in the 2017 session, when Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s successor will be in office. Nixon is barred by term limits from seeking re-election. The winner of the GOP primary faces the Democratic nominee, likely Attorney General Chris Koster, in the Nov. 8 general election.

Since the constitutional amendment’s failure in the Missouri Statehouse, Democratic President Barack Obama’s administration has issued a directive to public schools with guidance to allow transgender students to use whatever bathroom matches their gender identities, not sex at birth. That spurred similar criticism from each of the GOP candidates. They say that should be up to local schools to decide.

Here’s a guide to what each of the Republican candidates have to say about the failed religious objections proposal and transgender bathroom access:

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