By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com February 08 2003 12:00 AM ET
Politicians in Minnesota introduced a bill into the state house of representatives Thursday that would eliminate pro-gay antidiscrimination protections from a decade-old human rights law. Supporters of the bill say the current bill persecutes Christian conservatives who consider homosexuality a violation of God's law.
"I know a lady who was fired from her job because she disagreed with homosexual activities in her school," said Republican representative Arlon Lindner, the bill's chief author. "We're hearing complaints about cross-dressing in the schools," he said, adding that the law is "being used as a pretext to promote homosexuality in the schools, and there are lawsuits being filed against religious organizations whose beliefs conflict with hiring homosexuals."
The one gay member of Minnesota's senate, Scott Dibble, had harsh criticism for the bill. "Extremists in the Republican Party are overplaying their hand," he said. "Once people find out that in the proud tradition of Trent Lott they are trying to divide Minnesotans, this absolutely will backfire."
Dibble said he finds it particularly offensive that the bill would remove sexual orientation as a classification in the law's definition of Holocaust survivors and victims.