By Hudson Crozier
What’s happening: Seventeen Democratic lawmakers in the Minnesota House proposed changes to a civil rights law to add “gender identity” to its list of protected characteristics such as race, religion, and sexual orientation. Their bill would also remove a sentence from the law that reads, "’Sexual orientation’ does not include a physical or sexual attachment to children by an adult.”
The controversy: Without this clarification, state law would prohibit discrimination based on any “emotional, physical, or sexual attachment to another person.” Minnesota Republicans call the proposed change “disturbing and inexplicable” and fear that it could make pedophiles a protected class. The proposal drew controversy online as critics saw it as evidence of a growing movement to normalize pedophilia.
The other side: Authors of the bill say it "updates outdated language that incorrectly ties pedophilia to a person's sexual orientation.” They maintain that the bill won’t affect laws against child sex abuse and that the language they seek to remove from state law is unnecessary to begin with because “pedophilia is not a sexual orientation.” Minnesota House Republicans plan to propose an amendment to keep the anti-pedophilia language, but it will not likely pass since Democrats control the House, Senate, and governorship.