KFVS: Missouri unlikely to ban discrimination of sexual orientation, gender identity in 2024
April 17, 2024

by Jim Roberts on KFVS

The Missouri Non-discrimination Act, or “MONA,” doesn’t currently ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The 2024 session represents the 25th consecutive year state lawmakers have tried to add those protections.

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On Wednesday, Senators debated a bill to ban that type of discrimination in the Senate’s General Laws committee, during which some opponents suggested such a ban is no longer needed.

“I think the need for this is probably much, much less than it was 20 years ago and the cost of it potentially, to small employers particularly, worry me,” said Senator Mike Cierpiot, R-Lees Summit.

That cost, Cierpoit said, would come from a flood of civil lawsuits they believe would bury the court system and threaten vulnerable businesses with burdensome legal defense costs.

“Sexual orientation and gender identity is defined as a perception, one’s own perception of themselves,” said Ray McCarty, the CEO of Associated Industries of Missouri. “Because of that, it’s very difficult to defend yourself if someone makes that claim in an employment dispute.”

The other point of opposition came from the Coalition for Jewish Values and other religious groups in Missouri, who argued that not being able to discriminate against gay or transgender people prevents them from freely practicing their religion and free speech.

“Discrimination is not always wrong,” said Rabbi Ze’ev Smason with the Coalition for Jewish Values in Missouri. “I believe that discrimination is like fire, in some contexts and kills – but in other contexts, it gives heat and sustains life…”

See the full article on KFVS

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