JEFFERSON CITY — House Democrats have their hands full with the culture wars this session.
Republicans who control the government are pushing more than a dozen bills targeting LGBTQ people this year, and many are getting at least some consideration.
Among them is a so-called “don’t say gay” bill from Rep. Chuck Basye, R-Rocheport.
It would require schools to notify parents of any instruction or materials concerning sexual orientation or gender identity and allow them to refuse it for their children.
Rep. Robert Ross, R-Yukon, has another bill asking voters to require transgender high school athletes to play on teams matching the “biological sex” on their birth certificates.
All of them are offensive and unnecessary, Democrats said Wednesday.
“Members of the LGBTQ community are friends, neighbors and family members,” House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, said in a news conference. “It is deeply disheartening that in 2020, legislation to deny them dignity and respect remains a priority for Republican leadership.”
Other Democrats said the majority’s push also ignores ways to make the state better.
Democrats push pro-LGBTQ bills
Rep. Greg Razer, D-Kansas City, said his plan to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination would make it easier to attract jobs to the state.
“It’s becoming increasingly difficult for me to talk to my friends who live in New York, L.A., San Francisco,” Razer said, “and tell them to come to a state and bring your business to a state … where I cannot guarantee you won’t be fired or kicked out of your apartment or that you’ll get a meal when you sit down at a restaurant.”
Rep. Martha Stevens, D-Columbia, said her plan to have the state write curriculum on the contributions LGBTQ people have made to society would help more students feel comfortable at school so they can learn and achieve their potential.
Rep. Tracy McCreery, D-Olivette, said another bill barring state-licensed therapists from performing so-called “conversion therapy” would spare LGBTQ youths from unnecessary trauma, too.
The American Psychological Association has opposed the discredited practice, which aims to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity, since 1998.
“Adolescence is a time when individuals need a safe environment to explore who they are in order to survive,” McCreery said.
None of those bills had been referred to a committee as of Wednesday afternoon.
But Razer said that wouldn’t stop LGBTQ people and their allies, pointing out they fought for decades for greater acceptance and won the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” in the military as well as the right to marry.
He told reporters his anti-discrimination bill would eventually pass, and Republicans’ attempts to discriminate further would eventually fail.
“If the majority party thinks that attacking transgender people is the way to win elections, bring it on,” he said. “Our community and our allies have been fighting this for years, and we’ll continue to fight it, and we will eventually win.”
Austin Huguelet is the News-Leader’s politics reporter. Got something he should know? Call him at 417-403-8096 or email him at email@example.com. You can also support local journalism at News-Leader.com/subscribe.
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