The Catholic Spirit: Proposed Equal Rights Amendment opposed by Catholic leaders fails to pass Minnesota Legislature

A proposed Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) opposed by the Minnesota Catholic Conference (MCC) failed to ultimately pass both the Minnesota House and Senate as the latest legislative session ended before midnight May 20.

The proposed ERA garnered much debate this session. In part at the urging of MCC, which represents the public policy interests of the state’s Catholic bishops, nearly 500 people — including members of various metro area faith communities, state legislators, lawyers and the public — gathered at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul May 8 to speak out against the proposed language. May 13, the Minnesota House delayed its vote on the proposed ERA; legislators adjourned just before midnight. May 19, the House again took up, and passed, the proposed ERA. It did not reach a vote in the Senate before the session’s deadline. As a result, the language will not currently be submitted to Minnesota voters as a ballot question during a general election year.

“We are grateful for the engagement and support of the Catholic community and people of all backgrounds and beliefs who value religious liberty,” Jason Adkins, MCC’s executive director and general counsel, said in a statement after the session’s end. The outcome, Adkins said, demonstrates “that ‘One Minnesota’ can mean unity in diversity and need not mean conformity around one narrow ideological viewpoint. We thank the legislators who listened to their constituents and acted to preserve religious freedom. We remain dedicated to upholding life, human dignity and the common good.”

The proposal was first introduced through SF37, with HF173 as its companion. In April, the House moved to amend the proposed language so it would state, in part: “All persons shall be guaranteed equal rights under the laws of this state. The state shall not discriminate against any person in intent or effect on account of race; color; national origin; ancestry; disability; or sex, including but not limited to: making and effectuating decisions about all matters relating to one’s own pregnancy or decision whether to become or remain pregnant; gender identity or gender expression; or sexual orientation.”

The ballot question legislators were reviewing stated: “Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to say that all persons shall be guaranteed equal rights under the laws of this state, and shall not be discriminated against on account of race, color, national origin, ancestry, disability, or sex, including pregnancy, gender, and sexual orientation?”

Proponents of the proposed ERA argued it would protect against basic forms of discrimination. While the proposed language to amend the Minnesota Constitution would protect people against a range of discrimination, MCC argued it went beyond protecting against these basic forms.


Read the full article from The Catholic Spirit.

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