Minn. House amends Democrat's bill to remove anti-pedophile language from state's Human Rights Act after pushback

Minnesota State Representative Leigh Finke looks on during a session of the Minnesota House at the State Capitol Building in St. Paul, Minnesota, on April 19, 2023.
Minnesota State Representative Leigh Finke looks on during a session of the Minnesota House at the State Capitol Building in St. Paul, Minnesota, on April 19, 2023. | STEPHEN MATUREN/AFP via Getty Images

The Minnesota House has unanimously amended a bill by a trans-identified Democrat lawmaker who sought to change definitions in the state's Human Rights Act that raised concerns among many that the bill would weaken laws against pedophilia.

A Republican state lawmaker urged the Democrat-controlled House to vote to amend the Take Pride Act, or HF 1655, introduced by Democratic state Rep. Leigh Finke, a man who identifies as a woman. The legislation seeks to change the Minnesota Human Rights Act to include a separate definition for gender identity and remove language that LGB and trans activists oppose regarding sexual orientation. 

“‘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,” the proposed definition for gender identity reads. 

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However, Finke’s proposal also removed a provision from the state’s Human Rights Act stating that sexual orientation does not include pedophiles. Critics expressed concern that if left unaltered, then that would mean pedophiles claiming their attraction to children as part of their sexual orientation would be protected from discrimination under the law. 

Last Wednesday, the House voted unanimously to amend the legislation and make it clear that, “The physical or sexual attachment to children by an adult is not a protected class under this chapter.”

“A glimmer of common sense,” Republican state Rep. Harry Niska, who introduced the clarification, tweeted Wednesday. “An all green vote in the House tonight for this amendment to close a potential loophole created by [the legislation.]”

Minnesota Republican House Minority Leader, Lisa Demuth, told Fox News Digital that the effort to strike down the language in the Human Rights Act stating that “sexual orientation does not include physical or sexual attraction to children by an adult” was “disturbing” and “inexplicable.”

The office of Rep. Finke did not respond to The Christian Post’s request for comment. 

In a post on Twitter, Finke insisted that reports about his original amendment were a “lie” and that it “changes nothing about sexual orientation.” He further claimed that some people used the concerns surrounding his original amendment as an excuse to “amplify the hatred of trans people.”

“There was never a controversy, but it didn’t matter,” the Democratic lawmaker wrote. “The lie exploded into a whirlwind of hate intended to hurt me.” 

“And it worked! Congratulations. I’m left hurt, and scared,” he continued. “People I thought were kind, showed otherwise. I can’t changed that. We can only move forward. Onward.” 

In a statement to Fox News, the Minnesota lawmaker also insisted that nothing in his legislation would prevent the state from prosecuting pedophiles. Finke added that “pedophilia is not a sexual orientation.”

“The language never should have been included in the statutory definition in the first place,” Finke argued. “Crimes against children are located in Minnesota’s criminal statutes, and again, they remain unchanged.”

The debate about Finke’s legislation comes as Minnesota has enacted three separate bills dealing with allowing the transing of children (prescribing puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones or performing body-deforming genital mutilation surgeries) and abortion.

Last Thursday, Minnesota’s Democrat Gov. Tim Walz approved HF 146, which prevents “the use of subpoenas to gather information for out-of-state laws interfering in the use of gender-affirming health care” and bans the enforcement of court orders involving “the removal of a child issued in another state because the child’s parent or guardian assisted the child in receiving gender-affirming care in this state.” The term gender-affirming care is often used in reference to chemical and surgical castration and elective mastectomies performed on underage girls who are suffering from temporary confusion about their sexual identity. 

Another bill Walz signed into law, SF 23, states that mental health professionals who attempt to provide counseling for minors seeking help for unwanted same-sex attraction might be subject to disciplinary action. The bill also prohibits providers from representing homosexuality as a mental illness.  

The third bill approved by Walz, HF 366, is related to abortion, and it prohibits abortion providers from being extradited to other states for breaking abortion-related laws. 

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: Follow her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman

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