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Fogelman rues lack of religious exemption in MHRA

District 21B Rep. Marj Fogelman said a recent action in the Minnesota House suggests a liberty once enjoyed is gone for good.


Fogelman, a Fulda Republican, explained in a recent press release that before last year, when gender identity was included within the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) definition of sexual orientation, the still-existing religious exemption for sexual orientation covered gender identity claims as well. When a new, separate definition of gender identity was passed into law by the legislative majority last year, there was no corresponding religious exemption added, she said.


Assuming the change was a legislative oversight, Fogelman continued, a proposal was brought forward in a recent House committee hearing that would restore the status quo as it existed from 1993-2023. She added that the amendment language simply reinstituted the religious exemption in the MHRA protecting religious organizations and faith-based schools against claims of gender identity discrimination. That exemption ensures that religious organizations and faith-based schools can, among other things, hire teachers and ministers consistent with their vocation and values, she said.


After hearing their testimony, Fogelman said the majority party shot down the amendment.


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