ACLU of Minnesota Opposes State Legislation That Discriminates on the Basis of Sexual Orientation

Affiliate: ACLU of Minnesota
February 26, 2003 12:00 am

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ACLU of Minnesota
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MINNEAPOLIS–The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota today expressed opposition to a bill recently introduced in the state legislature that effectively removes all references to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons from state laws meant to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. A provision in the bill actually repeals the definition of sexual orientation from the state’s human rights statute.

The ACLU and gay rights groups like Outfront Minnesota say the bill would legalize harassment, intimidation, retaliation and reprisals against Minnesotans based on sexual orientation and have called on the full legislature and the Governor to reject the proposed measure.

“This proposed law would strip Minnesotans who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered of their human rights,” said Chuck Samuelson, Executive Director of the ACLU of Minnesota. “It flies in the face of the fundamental precept in the Minnesota and U.S. Constitutions, which guarantee equality under the law.”

Because the bill deletes all specific references to sexual orientation from state statutes, Samuelson said that if the bill is allowed to become law it would condone sexual orientation discrimination in every important aspect of daily life. These would include housing, employment, education, public accommodations, public assistance, applications for credit, medical settlements for the terminally ill, business discrimination, and hate crimes.

According to Samuelson and gay rights advocates, the proposed law clearly supports inequality and intolerance over equality and tolerance and is a blatant invitation for the right to discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Minnesotans in every conceivable area of society.

“This bill shamefully exhibits a spirit of meanness and vitriol totally out of place in this great state,” said Samuelson. “We urge our Legislature and Governor to protect the American and Minnesotan ideals of justice, tolerance, and peace by rejecting the bill.”

The bill, known as House File 341, was authored by Representatives Arlon Lindner of Corcoran, Sondra Erickson of Princeton, Mark Buesgens of Jordan, Bruce Anderson of Buffalo Township, Andrew Westerberg of Blaine, Dan Severson of Sauk Rapids, and Dick Borrell of Waverly.

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