Specifically, Senate Joint Resolution 39 seeks to give citizens of Missouri the chance to vote on the issue by adding the following provisions to the state constitution:
That the state shall not impose a penalty on a religious organization on the basis that the organization believes or acts in accordance with a sincere religious belief concerning marriage between two persons of the same sex;
That the state shall not impose a penalty on any clergy or other religious leader on the basis that such cleric or leader declines to perform, solemnize, or facilitate a marriage or ceremony because of a sincere religious belief concerning marriage between two persons of the same sex, nor shall the state refuse to authorize any clergy or religious leader to conduct marriages recognized by the state because of a sincere religious belief concerning such a marriage;
That the state shall not impose a penalty on any church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or other house of worship, denomination, or other religious organization on the basis that such organization declines to make its buildings or other facilities and property open or available to perform, solemnize, or facilitate a marriage or ceremony because of a sincere religious belief concerning marriage between two persons of the same sex;
That the state shall not impose a penalty on an individual who declines either to be a participant in a marriage or wedding ceremony or to provide goods or services of expressional or artistic creation for such a marriage or ceremony or an ensuing celebration thereof, because of sincere religious belief concerning marriage between two persons of the same sex.
Although to many constitutionalists, particularly those aware of the religious foundation upon which our republic was built, the need for such special protection might seem ridiculous and redundant.
The lawmakers who sponsored SJR 39, however, are aware of recent court rulings in other states wherein those with religious objections to the union of two people of the same sex were forced to accommodate such ceremonies by providing services to the same-sex couples.
In August 2015, for example, a Colorado state court of appeals held that the Christian owner of a bakery was required by law to bake a cake for a same-sex “wedding,” in defiance of the owner’s personal religious prohibitions against such actions.
Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, refused a homosexual couple’s demand for a “wedding” cake for their ceremony. Phillips informed the pair that he “believes that decorating cakes is a form of art, that he can honor God through his artistic talents, and that he would displease God by creating cakes for same-sex marriages.”
In other words, Mr. Phillips mistakenly assumed that just as that couple believed they had a “right” to require the state of Colorado to recognize their union, he had an equally compelling right to follow the dictates of his conscience.
Despite the fact that the state court’s ruling was in the words of one writer “a carnival funhouse of bias,” Phillips was forced to comply with the court’s order.
As for his objection on the grounds that such an order violated his rights to freely exercise his religion as protected by the First Amendment, the court held that “designing and selling a wedding cake … does not convey a celebratory message about same-sex weddings likely to be understood by those who view it.”