Renewed efforts in Legislature to protect LGBT community

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Legislature is again bracing for a battle over an effort to protect the rights of the LGBT community.

Similar efforts have failed over the past two decades. Still, Democratic State Rep. Greg Razer believes his bill known as the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act would have enough support to pass this year, he told the Kansas City Star .

Rep. Tom Hannegan, a St. Charles Republican, is sponsoring a similar version of Razer's bill. Razer and Hannegan are the only openly gay members of the Missouri Legislature.

Those measures face a challenge from Republican Rep. Mike Stephens of Bolivar, who is sponsoring a nondiscrimination bill of his own, but with one big exception: It excludes protections for gender identity.