SLRA condemns legislator’s statement on homosexuality

The St. Louis Rabbinical Association condemns the statement by Missouri State Rep. Rick Brattin on the floor of the Missouri House of Representatives that “there is a distinction between being a human being and being homosexual.” We are especially appalled that he would declare that “the tenets of religion, of the Bible, of the Qur’an, of other religions,” are the source of his claim. We call upon Rep. Brattin to apologize for this hateful and incorrect assertion.

As rabbis, we can state that there is no such tenet in Judaism. We are all created in God’s image and as full-fledged human beings, we all carry God within us. Sexual orientation does not deprive one of being human in the eyes of God.

We are also deeply dismayed that Rep. Brattin uses religion in an attempt to mandate unequal treatment of citizens under the law.  Claiming that protecting the residents of Missouri from discrimination is an infringement of religious liberty, as Rep. Brattin proclaimed on the floor of the House, is a wrong use of one’s personal faith to justify blocking equal rights under the law for all citizens, and shows a startling misunderstanding of our Constitution and American system of government. 

It is disappointing that views such as Rep. Brattin’s made necessary the withdrawal of an amendment to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s discrimination law, and we hope that such a provision will be added to state law in the next legislative session.

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St. Louis Rabbinical Association