Minneapolis –The amendment offered by Representative Fitzsimmons, though likely well-intentioned, does little to protect basic religious liberty rights and could actually narrow the religious liberty protections found in the original bill language.
Further, inserting the term “civil” in front of references to “marriage,” merely adds a redundancy to the bill, as marriage is already defined in statute as a civil contract (MN Statute 517.01).
The amendment has support from MN United, which shows it will do little to protect religious liberty. Same-sex marriage proponents have refused to support robust religious liberty accommodations of the type recommended to legislators by First Amendment scholars across the marriage debate. This refusal shows that they desire to use marriage redefinition to expand the scope of anti-discrimination laws to penalize those who do not support same-sex marriage.
At every step of the way, including in an op-ed by a University of Minnesota professor in today’s Pioneer Press, same-sex marriage proponents have misrepresented the law concerning the state’s Human Rights Act and how it will be applied should marriage be redefined. The reason there have been no cases in Minnesota of people being punished for their belief that marriage is between a man and woman is because that is not considered discrimination under current law—but it will be if the same-sex marriage bill passes.
How could it be the case that acting consistently with state law is discrimination? It is not, but same-sex marriage activists wish to make it so.
Such misrepresentations should come as no surprise, given that same-sex marriage proponents and MN United have misrepresented their intentions since 2011. They said we did not need a marriage amendment because our current statute was secure, and now they, with their legislative allies, are pushing to redefine marriage. They said during the campaign that our examples of people suffering penalties from same-sex marriage supporters in other states was not relevant because this would not happen in Minnesota.
The same-sex “marriage” bill will not protect the deeply held beliefs of businesses, non-religious non-profits, licensed professionals…the list goes on. Legislators supporting the same-sex “marriage” bill are telling hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans who believe that marriage is only the union of one man and one woman that they will be classified as “bigots.”
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