The Human Rights Act is the state law prohibiting discrimination in "employment, housing, public accommodations, public services, education, credit and business" and is enforced by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.
The act presently makes it clear in Subdivision 44 under "363A.03 Definitions" that "'Sexual orientation' does not include a physical or sexual attachment to children by an adult."
Transvestic state Rep. Leigh Finke (D-St. Paul), named "Woman of the Year" for Minnesota by USA Today, has introduced HF 1655, dubbed the "Take Pride Act," which was reportedly incorporated into the Judiciary Policy omnibus bill.
The stated purpose of the bill is to amend the Human Rights Act, thereby "creating a separate definition for gender identity[,] removing certain sections in the human rights act that allow for discrimination based on sexual orientation," and making a variety of other changes to existing law.
Finke's bill specifically targets Subdivision 44 and would remove the clarification that "sexual orientation" — a protected class under the law — excludes pedophiles.
Finke has defended his measure, suggesting that the clarification falsely insinuated a link between homosexuality and pedophilia. He told Fox News Digital that the measure "updates outdated language that incorrectly ties pedophilia to a person's sexual orientation."
"Nothing in the bill changes or weakens any crimes against children, or the state's ability to prosecute those who break the law," said Finke. "Of course, pedophilia is not a sexual orientation. The language never should have been included in the statutory definition in the first place. Crimes against children are located in Minnesota’s criminal statutes, and again, they remain unchanged."
There are laws on the books concerning various crimes against children and sex crimes more generally, although it is unclear whether unactioned pedophilia might nevertheless be interpreted to enjoy protected status as a consequence of Finke's proposal.
RedState indicated that while pedophilia is not in truth a "sexual orientation," that is "exactly what the language says."
Alpha News reported that Republicans intend to strike back with an amendment underscoring that adults with "a physical or sexual attachment to children" are not a protected class under the Human Rights Act.
House Minority Leader Lisa Demuth (R) said in a statement, "Under the Human Rights Act, the definition of sexual orientation says that sexual orientation does not include physical or sexual attraction to children by an adult — or, more simply described, pedophilia. The Democrats’ decision to strike this language is disturbing and inexplicable."
"House Republicans will be presenting an amendment today to clarify that pedophilia is absolutely not a protected class under the Human Rights Act. We sincerely hope Democrats will join us in ensuring our children are protected," added Demuth, a mother of four.
Finke suggested on Twitter Wednesday that the backlash over his measure was undeserved and that he is "left hurt, and scared."
Finke — who has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood, Education Minnesota, Democratic Gov. Tim Walz, and Moms Demand Action — is chair of the Queer Caucus and the director of the Queer Equity Institute. His institute notes that it seeks to make "LGBTQ+ people" a "protected class in every state in the United States," but does not specify what group or groups of people the "+" references.
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