The Missouri Nondiscrimination Act (MONA) was first introduced to the Missouri Legislature in 1998 by Rep. Steve McLuckie. MONA, if passed, would add sexual orientation and gender identity to Missouri’s Human Rights Act, which "currently prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations for other protected categories, including race, sex, and national origin" as described by the ACLU of Missouri.
Currently, under Missouri law, it is legal for someone to be fired from their job, evicted from their home, kicked out/barred from a restaurant, and otherwise discriminated because they identify as LGBTQ+ or are assumed to identify as LGBTQ+. This absence of legal protection is not due to a lack of trying, but rather a disregard by Republicans in Jefferson City for the LGBTQ+ community. An opinion by the Missouri Supreme Court explicitly states that the "inaction of the Missouri Legislature to pass this bipartisan legislation is a clear signal that limiting LGBTQ Missourians from these protections is the will of the legislature" as said by Missouri Realtors.
Why is this important?
No one should be discriminated against. Just as Missouri law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race, national origin, we ought to prohibit discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
Discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations has no place in Missouri. Lack of protections due to inaction and current polarized attacks by Republic legislators actively encourage LGBTQ+ individuals and families to leave or never come to Missouri. Moreover, these lack of protections and attacks discourage businesses and organizations from locating or staying in our great state.
Our future as a state relies upon families and businesses staying in or moving to Missouri to work, live, and invest back into our communities. Our diversity is our strength, and the future of Missouri.
What can we do about it?
Encourage our elected officials to pass MONA
Support candidates who will pass MONA
Raise awareness and create discussions on the importance of passing MONA
Check out the HRC's information on Missouri, and actionable steps here.