A gay Missouri lawmaker is calling on House republicans to speak out against the Westboro Baptist Church’s protest at the state Capitol. The church protested against Representative Greg Razer and other LGBT legislators last week. Razer wants lawmakers to approve a bill that prohibits discrimination based upon a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
“People can lose their homes, people can lose their jobs, people can be denied service at a restaurant because they’re gay or lesbian.”
Razer’s bill would add sexual orientation and gender identity to Missouri’s Human Rights statute. Discrimination would include unlawful housing practices and the denial of the right to use public accommodations.
“LGBT teenagers are five times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual counterparts. Yet, what we get from the leadership in this building (Missouri Capitol) is silence and inaction,” Razer says.
House Speaker Elijah Haahr says the Westboro Baptist Church “thrives on the attention we pay them, and so I pay them none.”, but he has referred the bill to the House General Laws Committee, which will hold a hearing on Wednesday.
The 2019 legislative session ends on May 17, so timing will be a factor. The state Constitution requires lawmakers to approve a balanced budget by Friday, so the budget will get a lot of attention in both chambers this week.