ST. PAUL, Minnesota (LifeSiteNews) — Minnesota Republicans were reportedly stunned after the state’s first transgender-identifying lawmaker introduced a measure that would cut language from the Minnesota Human Rights Act making clear that “sexual orientation” protections don’t extend to pedophiles, Fox News Digital reported Wednesday.
Minnesota state Rep. Leigh Finke, a 41-year-old, gender-confused man who says he’s a “trans woman,” a parent, and a “passionate advocate for healthcare autonomy” in relation to “abortion rights and trans health care,” proposed the changes in his “Take Pride Act” (HF 1655).
In addition to expanding anti-discrimination protections in housing and ensuring nonprofits abide by laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, Rep. Finke’s bill would strip out language referencing pedophilia in the state’s Human Rights Act, which prohibits discriminatory behavior based on another person’s actual or perceived “sexual orientation.”
While the act is already broad and has been interpreted as requiring Minnesota schools to let transgender-identifying boys use girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms, its legal protections do not extend to adults who are sexually attracted to children, a point the law makes clear.
According to the language of the legislation, “‘Sexual orientation’ does not include a physical or sexual attachment to children by an adult.”
However, Finke, who says he’s “committed to expanding protections for trans, queer and LGBTQ people of all ages” and previously worked for the ACLU, argues the language is “outdated” and “incorrectly ties pedophilia to a person’s sexual orientation.” He also said that removing the clarifying statement won’t impact existing laws surrounding sexual crimes committed against children.
“Nothing in the bill changes or weakens any crimes against children, or the state’s ability to prosecute those who break the law,” he said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “Of course, pedophilia is not a sexual orientation. The language never should have been included in the statutory definition in the first place.”
“Crimes against children are located in Minnesota’s criminal statutes, and again, they remain unchanged,” Finke said.
Regardless, GOP House Minority Leader Lisa Demuth slammed the proposal in a statement to Fox News Digital.
“The Democrats’ decision to strike this language is disturbing and inexplicable,” she told the outlet. She explained that Republicans in the House are already moving to present an amendment “to clarify that pedophilia is absolutely not a protected class under the Human Rights Act.”
“We sincerely hope Democrats will join us in ensuring our children are protected,” she said.
This isn’t the first time left-wing legislators have drawn backlash for legislative proposals pertaining to adults engaging in sexual activity with minors.
In 2019, California Democratic state Sen. Scott Wiener proposed SB 145 to allow “judge’s discretion over sex-offender registration in all cases involving voluntary intercourse between teenagers 14 to 17, who cannot legally consent, and adults who are less than 10 years older.”
According to the bill, the legislation “would exempt from mandatory registration under the act a person convicted of certain offenses involving minors if the person is not more than 10 years older than the minor and if that offense is the only one requiring the person to register.”
California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed SB 145 in 2020.