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Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty tells Newsweek's Howard Fineman that
he regrets his vote in favor of a 1993 antidiscrimination law because
it protects "things like cross-dressing." Pawlenty, who was a state representative when he cast the pro-gay vote, became Minnesota's governor in 2003. He now is considered a possible Republican contender for challenging President Obama in 2012. Perhaps that's why he's backtracking on anything in his voting history that could be considered pro-gay.
Newsweek: To borrow a phrase, have your views evolved over time?
Pawlenty: In 1993 I voted for a bill prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in public accommodation, housing, and employment. That was 16 years ago.
Yes, gay rights activists regarded you as a pretty cool guy at the time.
We overbaked that statute, for a couple of reasons. If I had to do it over again I would have changed some things.
That statute is not worded the way it should be. I said I regretted the vote later because it included things like cross-dressing, and a variety of other people involved in behaviors that weren't based on sexual orientation, just a preference for the way they dressed and behaved. So it was overly broad. So if you are a third-grade teacher and you are a man and you show up on Monday as Mr. Johnson and you show up on Tuesday as Mrs. Johnson, that is a little confusing to the kids. So I don't like that.
So you want to protect kids against cross-dressing elementary-school teachers. Do you have any in Minnesota?
Probably. We've had a few instances, not exactly like that, but similar.