UDPATE BELOW. Earlier, from the Riverfront Times:
They’re still talking. The Democratic caucus of the Missouri Senate began filibustering a controversial “religious freedom” proposal on Monday at 4 p.m. And as of 6 a.m. this morning, they were still holding the floor — that’s 38 hours, and counting.
That appears to be a new record for the Missouri Senate; the previous “longest filibuster” in this state that’s regularly cited was 30 hours, in 2003. In addition, the New York Daily News suggests that if the Senators can just get to 43 hours, they’ll set a record for the longest filibuster in history (!). Even the famous Wendy Davis filibuster in Texas was just eleven hours.
The resolution they’re blocking, SJR 39, would refer to Missouri voters a possible constitutional amendment spelling out clear protections for anyone opposed to same-sex marriage. In essence, it would bar the state from imposing “any penalty” on those entities — including churches, other houses of worship and individuals “with sincere religious beliefs” — who decline to officiate or otherwise participate in same-sex marriage celebrations.
UPDATE: From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Using a parliamentary maneuver, Republicans voted to end the blockade, which had put a national focus on a GOP-sponsored measure to shield clergy, wedding vendors and religious organizations from penalties if they oppose same-sex marriage. The Senate then voted 23-9 to give the proposal preliminary approval.
The Senate’s minority party launched its stalling attempt at about 4 p.m. Monday and went non-stop until Republican leaders called for a break at about 5 a.m. Wednesday. Word began spreading about the filibuster Monday night. By Tuesday afternoon, national outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Buzzfeed and the Los Angeles Times were covering the marathon.
UPDATE II: LGBT groups react.
“Religious freedom is one of our nation’s fundamental values, and that’s why it’s firmly protected in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “This reckless legislation has nothing to do with religious freedom and everything to do with enabling discrimination against LGBT Missourians and their families. Discrimination against LGBT people should never be sanctioned by the state, and we call on the Missouri House of Representatives to resoundingly reject this outrageous resolution.”
“Laws that promote discrimination are anti-democratic, harm Missouri families, and – as we’ve learned in Indiana – are bad for our economy,” said ACLU of Missouri Executive Director Jeffrey Mittman. “That is why so many Missourians, including clergy and business leaders, strongly oppose any effort – such as SJR 39 – that would seek to enshrine inequality in our Missouri Constitution.”
“We agree that religion is a fundamental right, which is why it is protected in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and in our existing Human Rights Act. We are not arguing that clergy and churches should be denied their freedom of religion,” said PROMO Executive Director Steph Perkins. “But those same religious beliefs cannot be used as a reason to deny someone the same services that are offered to the rest of the public by private businesses. And that is exactly what SJR 39 aims to do. Businesses and organizations have already been rightly concerned about the consequences of this bill and are outspoken in their opposition.”
Kansas City Mayor Sly James was on fire on Twitter last night.
Where in the first amendment does it say it’s okay to discriminate against people? Please point out the passage. https://t.co/rTTSqUbPyI
— Mayor Sly James (@MayorSlyJames) March 9, 2016
I couldn’t be prouder of Mo Dem Senators’ 27 hours & counting filibuster of bill that discriminates against folks based on who they love. — Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) March 9, 2016
— MO Democratic Party (@MoDemParty) March 8, 2016