Buckle up, because we have a shocking story coming out of Minnesota that has left Republicans bewildered; a transgender state lawmaker introduced a measure that would remove language from the state’s Human Rights Act, which currently declares pedophiles are not included in protections based on “sexual orientation.” This proposal is part of the “Take Pride Act” (HF 1655), introduced by state Rep. Leigh Finke, a member of the Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party and the first transgender legislator in Minnesota House history.
“The bill would amend Minnesota’s Human Rights Act, which is described by the state as “one of the strongest civil rights laws in the country.” The current Human Rights Act protects against discrimination based on sexual orientation, defined as “having or being perceived as having an emotional, physical, or sexual attachment to another person without regard to the sex of that person or having or being perceived as having an orientation for such attachment, or having or being perceived as having a self-image or identity not traditionally associated with one’s biological maleness or femaleness.””
Rep. Finke defended the bill, stating that the measure “updates outdated language that incorrectly ties pedophilia to a person’s sexual orientation.” Finke emphasized that nothing in the bill changes or weakens any crimes against children or the state’s ability to prosecute those who break the law. According to Finke, pedophilia is not a sexual orientation and should never have been included in the statutory definition in the first place.
Besides the change in definition for “sexual orientation,” Finke’s measure also includes the addition of a definition for “gender identity.” The proposed definition reads: “‘Gender identity’ means a person’s inherent sense of being a man, woman, both, or neither. A person’s gender identity may or may not correspond to their assigned sex at birth or to their primary or secondary sex characteristics. A person’s gender identity is not necessarily visible to others.”
Finke’s measure has been incorporated into the Judiciary Policy omnibus bill and was slated to come up for consideration on the House Floor. However, GOP House Minority Leader Lisa Demuth expressed her concerns, calling the decision to strike the language “disturbing and inexplicable.” House Republicans plan to present an amendment to clarify that pedophilia is not a protected class under the Human Rights Act, urging Democrats to join them in ensuring children’s protection.
In addition to the controversial changes, the measure offered by Finke seeks to enhance sexual orientation and gender identity protections in housing and ensure that nonprofits abide by non-discrimination laws. It is crucial to ensure that any changes made do not inadvertently provide protections or loopholes for those who seek to harm children.