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Gov. Nixon opposes religious exemption amendment proposal

Bernard Pollack

JEFFERSON CITY - Governor Jay Nixon says a proposed constitutional amendment granting religious exemptions to some business owners opposed to gay marriage could be "harmful to our economy."

The Democratic governor also said Wednesday that the measure would "condone discrimination" and urged the House to oppose it.

His comments come after the Republican-led Senate ended a Missouri record 37-hour Democrat-led filibuster and gave initial approval to the measure. It would bar government penalties against those who cite a "sincere religious belief" while declining to provide wedding-related services to same-sex couples.

A second Senate vote is expected Thursday to send the measure to the House, where Republican leaders also have expressed support. If passed by the Legislature, the proposal would go before voters on either the August primary or November general election ballot.