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RELEASE: Rep. Daniels: Republicans on brink of restoring religious freedom in Minnesota

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

ST. PAUL – State Rep. Brian Daniels, R-Faribault, said Republicans have taken a major step toward restoring religious freedom which Minnesota Democrats stripped from faith-based organizations last year.

The House on Tuesday approved legislation pertaining to the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) to re-establish protections for religious entities against discrimination claims. The bill unanimously passed the Senate earlier in the day and, with the House also providing overwhelming approval, it is now on Gov. Tim Walz’s desk for enactment.

“Tuesday’s positive votes were a victory for religious liberty and freedom here in Minnesota,” Daniels said. “It is unfortunate that it took this long to resolve this issue, but I am happy that Democrats were willing to join us in standing up for religious liberty. Moving forward, we must remain vigilant and make sure this sort of thing never happens again.”

Daniels said this move was necessary due to MHRA legislation that Democrats enacted in 2023, that stripped religious protections that had been in place since 1993. Before last year, when gender identity was included (or subsumed) within the 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 created last year, there was no corresponding religious exemption added.