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Friday, February 07, 2003

Senators Hottinger, Kierlin, Frederickson, Rest and
Scheid introduced--
S.F. No. 293: A bill for an act relating to state
government; ratifying certain state employee labor
agreements and compensation plans with certain
exceptions; specifying terms and conditions of
employment in certain circumstances.
Committee on State and Local Government Operations.

5.3 Sec. 3. [EFFECTIVE DATE.] 5.4 Sections 1 and 2 are effective the day following final 5.5 enactment. A person receiving insurance coverage on that day 5.6 due to the person's status as a same-sex domestic partner of a 5.7 state employee may continue that coverage until June 30, 2003. 5.8 A person receiving a tuition waiver on that date due to the 5.9 person's status as a same-sex domestic partner of a state 5.10 employee may continue to receive the waiver until the completion 5.11 of the semester next ending after the effective date of sections 5.12 1 and 2.

I doubt the repeal the human rights act as it applies to gays will go anywhere -- but it does give the DFLers an issue. However, just look how the DFLers are running away on the Domestic Partner issue. It's interesting that Scott Dibble tried to pin the repeal the human rights act bill on Pawlenty, when it was clearly some of the wackiest of the wackies introducing that bill, but gave a total pass to Hottinger who was stepping up to the plate to get rid of domestic partner benefits.

Meanwhile on the house side:

Lindner (R), Erickson (R), Buesgens (R), Davids (R) and Anderson, B. (R) introduced:
H. F. 0341, A bill for an act relating to human rights; removing sexual
orientation as a protected class under the Human Rights Act and in other
statutory provisions; .Committee on Civil Law.

With a serious budget shortfall, it's interesting that this type of bill gets introduced. Clearly all it is, is a let's go after the GLBT community bill. What's interesting is that many in the Republican Party are not like that -- but they don't speak up when they should. I believe that Governor Pawlenty probably doesn't want this issue to come up -- because it distracts from his agenda.

It's pretty predictable that Arlon Lindner is chief author of this one. I remember him replying to an email I sent to all Republican Reps telling me to refer to Leviticus and that I could change. I wrote back and told him that Leviticus referred to men and not women. He wrote back telling me that Romans said covered Lesbians.

Dane Smith's article on the subject is at:

http://www.startribune.com/stories/462/3639014.html

I just tried to contact Dan Wolter the communications director at the Governor's Office for comment on this bill. His voicemail was full.

From Dane Smith's article:

Perhaps indicative of how hot the issue would be, Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston -- who is listed as an author -- said later Thursday that he will have his name removed as a sponsor.
Davids said he still intends to vote for repealing gay-rights language if it comes to the floor. But as chairman of a key House committee overseeing commerce, he said, he already has his hands full. "I signed on to the bill but I haven't really studied it. . . . I've got enough controversy," he said.


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Also from the article, Pawlenty's staff would not return calls on this.

A crucial factor in how far the legislation advances may be how Gov. Tim Pawlenty handles the emotional and highly divisive issue. In past votes, some conservative DFLers have voted against gay rights and some moderate Republicans have voted in favor of them.

Pawlenty, then a freshman legislator, voted in 1993 to include sexual orientation in the human rights law, which prohibits certain forms of discrimination based on such factors as race, ethnicity, religion and disability status. But as he sought the Republican gubernatorial endorsement last year, he told Republican activists that he regretted that vote. Pawlenty's aides could not be reached for comment Thursday night.

His predecessors, Republican Gov. Arne Carlson and Independence Party Gov. Jesse Ventura, were staunch defenders of gay rights. Certainty that they would veto any repeal of the law prevented advancement of bills in previous years.

Dibble said that however Pawlenty handles the issue, "he played up antigay credentials. We can draw a direct line back to him for encouraging this legislation."

Perhaps indicative of how hot the issue would be, Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston -- who is listed as an author -- said later Thursday that he will have his name removed as a sponsor.

Davids said he still intends to vote for repealing gay-rights language if it comes to the floor. But as chairman of a key House committee overseeing commerce, he said, he already has his hands full. "I signed on to the bill but I haven't really studied it. . . . I've got enough controversy," he said.


When Pawlenty met with Log Cabin Republicans last October, he said his reason for saying he regretted his vote for the Human Rights Act was not that it covered gays and lesbians, but that it covered cross-dressers -- and specifically mentioned that it would cover someone coming to a school dressed as a man one day and dressed as a woman the next.

When I first met Tim Pawlenty at a young republicans gathering, I asked him about Domestic Partners -- and he said he opposed it and believed that marriage should be restricted to a man and woman. When I talked with him privately he made a point of mentioning his vote in favor of the Human Rights Act.

Chief Author, Lindner says part of the reason for the repeal is this (according to the Strib):

Supporters of the bill say that they don't want people to be persecuted or harassed but that the law is doing just that to Christian conservatives and others who consider homosexuality a violation of God's law.
"I know a lady who was fired from her job because she disagreed with homosexual activities in her school," said Rep. Arlon Lindner, R-Corcoran, the bill's chief author.


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I don't get how the law which protects from discrimination both on the basis of sexual orientation and religion does this. If there was religious discrimination - which this woman is claiming, then it seems that she could sue on the basis of religious discrimination. What I find so interesting about many of the so-called Christian Conservatives (there are Christian Conservatives who are not anti-gay, and they aren't included in the "so-called" modifier), is that many of these folks absolutely detest Muslims. But then they express admiration for the policies in Saudi Arabia where gay men are executed for sodomy -- and say that this is a good AIDS prevention measure.

The article continues:

Tom Prichard, president of the Minnesota Family Council, said changes to the law have a good chance of passing the Republican-controlled House. "We've got a more conservative Legislature," he said. The council has strongly opposed what it calls "special protections" for gays and lesbians. Prichard said that total repeal probably doesn't stand much chance in the Senate, where DFLers hold a narrow majority. But bills that undo special applications of the law might pass, he said.
"We're hearing complaints about cross-dressing in the schools," he said.
The law is "being used as a pretext to promote homosexuality in the schools, and there are lawsuits being filed against religious organizations whose beliefs conflict with hiring homosexuals," Prichard said.

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Actually, if this bill has "special protections" for Gays and Lesbians, then the human rights act should be gotten rid of totally -- why just delete the GLBT citizens from the law? Why not also delete other "choices" -- that is religion?

As far as Prichard's claim that the law is being used as a pretext to promote homosexuality in the schools -- that is bogus. Gay students in schools have successfully sued school districts for not doing an adequate job of preventing anti-gay harrassment in the schools.

But then, it's a little hard to take what Prichard says seriously. After all the last time repealing the sodomy law came up in the legislature, Prichard said that repealing the law would increase teenage pregnancy. He repeated that assertion when I debated with him on Nick Coleman's radio show. At that time, Nick and I both asked him how the activities prohibited in the sodomy law caused pregnancy. Prichard was not able to answer that question. Others on alt.tasteless have.

From the article:

Deborah Talen, executive director of Rainbow Families, a nonprofit agency that advocates for gay and lesbian parents, said the bill is "mean-spirited" and a retreat from Minnesota's reputation as a champion of civil rights. "We are still treated as 'less-thans' in our society," Talen said. "By striking this language, they are saying it's OK to discriminate in jobs, housing or public accommodations. . . . It's really endorsing discrimination, and the motivation is deep-seated."

EY: The usual suspects pushing this bill seem like they want the big tent to be a pup tent in the Republican Party. They sure aren't following Bush's lead. Recall that Bush said after meeting with a group of Gay Republicans - We are ALL God's Children. Yes, we are President Bush. We are also ALL Minnesota Taxpayers.

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