We are surrounded and outnumbered in defense of your religious freedom, but that is how we prefer to fight! The Religious Freedom Amendment (SJR39) protects religious belief concerning marriage of two individuals of the same sex or gender. The Amendment is neutral, meaning that it protects religious beliefs about marriage no matter what your position is on this high stakes issue.
The Amendment protects pastors and religious organizations, individuals, and certain businesses that offer goods and services involving creative or artistic expression like bakers or florists.
Why is SJR39 Necessary?
SJR39 is necessary because of the risk to clergy and small businesses created by the 2015 Obergefell Supreme Court decision. In other states small business religious wedding vendors have been fined significant amounts of money by the government for refusing to provide services to same-sex weddings due to their sincere religious beliefs relating to marriage.
The Religious Liberty Amendment is necessary to preempt and prevent situations like that of Sweet Cakes by Melissa an Oregon Bakery that was fined $135,000.00 and put out of business after refusing to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple due to their sincere religious belief that marriage is a sacrament between one man and one woman.
In another case Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington, was penalized for refusing to participate in the same-sex wedding of a longtime customer. Her case is headed to the Washington Supreme Court.
SJR39 allows Missouri Voters to decide if they want to reinforce First Amendment protections for pastors and priests and small business wedding vendors with respect to their religious liberty. This proposed religious liberty amendment lets the people choose.
The Religious Liberty Amendment is supported by the Missouri Baptist Convention, Assemblies of God Church, and thousands of Catholics which added together are representative of millions of Missourians.
In examining the data provided by the Missouri Alliance for Freedom’s poll and other similar surveys, it is clear we begin this debate with overwhelming support from Missourians.
Opponents and journalists are predisposed to believe only a small minority cares about this issue, but that is not true and it is incumbent upon those who believe in Religious Liberty to speak up.
According to the MAF survey:
- Seventy-eight percent of Missourians believe the government should not force members of the faith community to perform same-sex marriages if it violates the community’s religious beliefs.
- Seventy-one percent of Missourians surveyed believe the government should not be able to force a private business to provide services for a same-sex wedding if it violates their religious beliefs.
We are protecting our God given religious freedom in accordance with our U.S. Constitution. Even those who disagree with us ought to at least agree the Constitution protects a person’s religious liberty.
- Our country was founded by those who sought to practice their faith without government interference.
- Our Founding Fathers made clear with the signing of the Declaration of Independence that all Americans have the freedom to express their religious beliefs without government interference.
- The freedom of religion and religious belief is a Constitutionally protected right and Missourians and all Americans should not be forced to check their religious beliefs at the door when they leave their home.
Missourians and Americans feel attacked for living their religious beliefs. Those who do not endorse same-sex marriage are under attack by a culture of conformity where they are expected to abandon their religious beliefs or be ostracized. Left-wing extremists will not be happy until we all think as they do.
- The government should not be able to force priests and pastors to perform same-sex weddings if same-sex marriage violates the clergy’s religious beliefs and the teachings of the church.
- Churches, synagogues, mosques and other religious spaces should not be forced to host same-sex weddings or events if it violates the religious convictions of the religious institution.
- If we do not protect the rights of all Americans to freely express their beliefs we risk the long tentacles of government dictating religious beliefs.
- Citizens should be able to live out their beliefs without the fear of the government trampling on their strongly held religious views.
- State government cannot and should not force citizens and business owners to take action against their religious beliefs.
- Missouri needs stronger laws to protect the religious freedoms of private citizens and businesses.
We must forcefully, but thoughtfully, protect the religious liberty of all Missourians. The First Amendment is not for sale and we are fighting to defend it.
- Our proposal protects clergy, churches, synagogues, mosques and private citizens and some businesses from being forced by the government to act contrary to their sincere religious beliefs.
- For example, it protects a priest or pastor from having to administer a wedding or host an event that contradicts their religious views.
Missourians overwhelmingly believe citizens should not be forced by the government to violate their own deeply-held religious beliefs which are protected by our Constitution. The government should not be able to force clergy, citizens or business owners to take action against their religious beliefs. Our proposal gives Missouri voters the opportunity to strengthen basic religious liberty protections to shield Missourians from this government overreach. We hope you will support us in this fight!