JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Sen. Bob Onder received the Missouri Family Policy Council’s highest legislative honor this week when he was named the organization’s 2016 Missouri Family Champion.
Onder received the award from the socially conservative and Christian group primarily for his sponsorship of SJR 39. The controversial resolution was intended to protect clergy and businesses related to weddings from needing to offer services to same-sex couples in the wake of the Obergefell decision which legalized same-sex marriage.
The Missouri Family Policy Council’s Joe Ortwerth said that SJR 39 was an attempt to protect Christians from needing to comply with something that violated their sincerely-held religious beliefs.
“The vicious attacks on the human rights and civil liberties of Bible-believing Christians have been aimed at individuals and organizations in both the religious and secular sphere,” Ortwerth said. “Pastors, churches, religious schools, and non-profit religious organizations have come under legal fire for their commitment to traditional marriage.”
The Senate passed the resolution only after initiating a previous question on a 39-hour long filibuster from Democrats. SJR 39 died in the House Emerging Issues Committee on a 6-6 vote.
Ortwerth said that during the process, in the face of opposition from business groups and gay rights activists, Onder “demonstrated that he is a man of both extraordinary integrity and selfless Christian conviction.”
“We thank you, Sen. Onder, for your valiant efforts to defend the religious liberties of clergy, churches, and citizens in Missouri who believe in God’s design for marriage and the family,” he continued.
Onder himself was happy to receive what he called a “great honor” in a social media post.
“I look forward to continuing to work with MFPC to promote a culture of life, traditional values, and religious liberty,” Onder said.
A number of legislators have also received awards for their opposition to the resolution. Sen.-elect Caleb Rowden, Onder’s future Republican Senate caucus member, was among the six who voted against the proposal in the Emerging Issues Committee, and he received an award for voting against SJR 39 from the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce, alongside the other five representatives who did so.
For more on Onder and SJR 39, the upcoming issue of the Missouri Times Magazine will have an in-depth interview with the legislator and his thoughts on the resolution.