Tears began streaming down my face as I listened to leadership in the Missouri Senate abruptly end a record 37-hour filibuster of Senate Joint Resolution 39 (SJR39) more than three weeks ago. As I sat in my office chair, I recall my heart filling with dismay, my body with anxiety, and my mind thankful for those Senators that stood behind justice, and enraged by those Senators doing harm. SJR39, simply put, would add LGBT discrimination into the state constitution by way of a public vote.
As a community, LGBT Missourians have been resilient in our efforts to create opportunity, and a better Missouri for all. Our collective efforts have been driven by a desire for a better future, where everyone in Missouri has a fair chance to achieve their personal best. But our personal best cannot be achieved if the Missouri legislature continues to legislate against our families and loved ones.
In effect, SJR39 hurts all of us who know, or have a loved one that is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. What we cannot understand is how this pain will ultimately impact the health of those Missourians, who like me — feel the stress of their actions. According to the Missouri Foundation for Health, LGBT Missourians experience negative health outcomes linked to the lack of public policy support by the State of Missouri.
Knowing that our health is linked to the laws created by the State of Missouri, it is only fair to say that all Missourians deserve to be treated fairly by the laws of their State. Tears did stream down my face as I listened to the Missouri Senate pass SJR39, which can only attest to the accuracy of that link. For my health, and the health of all LGBT and Ally Missourians impacted — we must stop SJR39.