JEFFERSON CITY - More than a dozen companies want shields for businesses removed from a Missouri proposal creating religious protections for those objecting to gay marriage.
Company executives this week sent a letter to a House committee chairman asking to nix that provision.
The proposal would prohibit government penalties against those who cite religious beliefs while declining to provide wedding-related services to same-sex couples. The religious protections would apply to clergy, religious organizations and some businesses such as florists and photographers.
Leaders of utility company Ameren, AT&T Missouri, BJC HealthCare and Express Scripts signed the letter. They joined Monsanto, MasterCard and the St. Louis Regional Chamber, which have previously criticized the measure.
Businesses argue enacting the measure could hurt the economy and harm Missouri's image.
The proposal is awaiting House committee review.