‘Religious exemption’ law opponents say bill would cost St. Louis big business

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – A proposed change to the Missouri constitution would have a negative financial impact on the St. Louis area, according to opponents of SJR 39.

The legislation would allow a person to reject wedding-related services to a same-sex couple, if the reason is based religious beliefs. Critics say the legislation amounts to discrimination. The bill has passed the Missouri Senate and is now in the House.

Some critics say St. Louis City could be passed over for future NCAA basketball tournament games if the bill passes. They cite concerns expressed by the NCAA after a similar measure passed in Indiana. The NCAA has yet to weigh in on the SJR 39.

MasterCard has also expressed concern. The company employs thousands of workers in Missouri, and sent a letter to Governor Jay Nixon expressing appreciation for his opposition to the measure. Missouri-based Monsanto has also expressed opposition to the bill.

“Regardless of who you are or where you come from, we believe that everyone should be treated with equality, dignity and respect. Monsanto has a long history of employing a diverse workforce and creating an inclusive environment for our employees. That’s why we are committed to recruiting, hiring, retaining, and promoting employees from all dimensions of diversity, including sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, and we oppose discrimination of any kind. We believe that an inclusive workplace allows people to truly bring their best and most innovative ideas to work.

“We’ve called on other businesses and the ag community to join us in speaking out against discrimination in Missouri and around the world. We believe making St. Louis an inclusive place to attract top talent is valuable for us and our civic colleagues.”

Supporters say the legislation is very specific and they do not believe there will be the type of economic backlash others are predicting. If lawmakers approve SJR 39, the proposed change to the Missouri Constitution would then go before Missouri voters.

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