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Monday, March 31, 2003

Sviggum says No Way to Repeal of Human Rights Act as it applies to gays

Sviggum Puts Stop to Lindner Bill
Rachel E. Stassen-Berger, Saint Paul Pioneer Press, 3/21/2003
State Rep. Arlon Lindner called a press conference Thursday to promote his bill striking homosexuals from Minnesota's Human Rights Act, but he didn't get much of a boost from the event.

Before his supporters had even left the room, House Speaker Steve Sviggum -- a fellow Republican -- took to the podium to reiterate that the bill was going nowhere in the House.

On top of that, a Senate version of his bill will get a hearing today, but the DFL-controlled Senate committee isn't likely to pass it, and even the sponsor has had doubts about the bill. "When I first met with Arlon about it I wasn't sure he was taking the right approach," said Sen. Michael Jungbauer, R-East Bethel.

Lindner's bill would remove homosexuals as a protected class under the state's Human Rights Act, as well as removing them from a list of recognized Holocaust victims.

Jungbauer's concern about the Human Rights Act is that some might want to use it to "force (an) agenda into schools" and other public places.

The current Human Rights Act says nothing in it should be "construed to mean the state of Minnesota condones homosexuality" or authorizes or permits the "promotion of homosexuality or bisexuality in education institutions."

Jungbauer says he wants to put some teeth into that part of the law. But his Senate bill, which mirrors Lindner's bill, wouldn't do that.

Lindner, a sixth-term representative from Corcoran, didn't say much about his bill Thursday. He is already the subject of a House ethics complaint for saying he doubts gay people were persecuted during the Holocaust and that his bill would keep America from becoming "another African continent" because of the spread of HIV.

Instead, at his news conference, he let two suburban mothers speak in support of his bill.

"We are afraid of the sex pushers coming into our community and pandering to the curiosity of children and childlike adults," said Judy Lindsay, a Rosemount mother of three. That's what's happening, she said, because of Minnesota's human rights act, which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.

"We think the state has gotten involved in legislating immorality," said Maple Grove grandmother Linda Marquardt.

EY: I'm curious whether Linda Marquardt is the GOP activist who is a gatekeeper up in the Maple Grove area.