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Republicans in the Minnesota House introduced prefiled a bill that would allow people, organizations, and businesses to refuse service to same-sex couples based on religious belief. The bill was posted to the Minnesota House website on Friday.

The bill, HF2462, was introduced by Republican Reps. Duane Quam of Byron and Cindy Pugh of Chanhassen.

The bill states:

Notwithstanding chapter 363A or any law to the contrary, no person, organization, or entity shall incur a civil or criminal penalty for refusing to provide a service, or refusing to allow the use of property or facilities for any activity that is prohibited by or is against the person’s, organization’s, or entity’s sincerely held religious beliefs.

Quam hinted in late 2015 that he would be offering the bill. He also doesn’t think it will lead to discrimination. If same-sex couples are turned away because of someone’s religious beliefs, they can always go elsewhere, he argued in an interview with the Rochester Post-Bulletin:

“Why should a person, a group choose to make someone do something they don’t want to do? You’ve got probably dozens of options but you don’t choose ones that the people don’t have a problem with it. Instead you choose to rub somebody’s face in something for a point,” Quam said….Quam rejects the idea that his bill could lead to discrimination. He said same-sex couples planning a wedding have plenty of businesses to choose from. As such, he said there is no harm in providing legal protections for business owners to refuse that business if it violates their religious beliefs.
“There are plenty of bakeries to bake cakes, photographers to take pictures, florists to make arrangements,” he said.

A similar bill was introduced in 2015 by Republican Sen. Paul Gazelka of Nisswa, and is pending in the 2016 legislature.

“Religious liberty” bills are becoming increasingly common in legislatures around the country. Debate on such bill are underway in Indiana, Georgia, Florida, and Oklahoma, and the majority of states have some form of the legislation pending.

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Andy Birkey
Andy Birkey has written for a number of Minnesota and national publications. He founded Eleventh Avenue South which ran from 2002-2011, wrote for the Minnesota Independent from 2006-2011, the American Independent from 2010-2013. His writing has appeared in The Advocate, The Star Tribune, The Huffington Post, Salon, Cagle News Service, Twin Cities Daily Planet, TheUptake, Vita.mn and much more. His writing on LGBT issues, the religious right and social justice has won awards including Best Beat Reporting by the Online News Association, Best Series by the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and an honorable mention by the Sex-Positive Journalism awards.

15 COMMENTS

  1. The bill, HF2462, was introduced by Republican Reps. Duane Quam of Byron and Cindy Pugh of Chanhassen.
    Have the purveyors of this bill ever read the US Constitution. Consider these as something necessary to think about.
    1st amendment, Separation of Church and State. Your on a slippery slope with this one.
    8th amendment, Cruel and unusual punishment. What , for not being Christian, Gay or other and Being punished for it.
    9th amendment, RIGHTS NOT ENUMERATED IN THE CONSTITUTION. CIVIL RIGHTS TO ALL HUMANS.

    Since when in the supposed Land of The FREE, does the Government of the USA condone any form of Religious Bigotry which this Bill is blatantly doing.

  2. It’s fine. Public nudity laws will protect businesses from allowing ASSHOLES like Quam and Pugh inside their establishments.

  3. ALEC foot soldiers doing their corporate fascists bidding.

    How much money do you think these un-Christian heathens took to sell their souls to Satan?

  4. why are we going back to 1960s? Soon we will have separate water founds and restaurant for same sex couples I was sure that racial segregation was over but there is always some backward thinking senator

  5. Would the businesses that “refuse to provide services, etc. (to the gay community)” be required to visibly post this fact somewhere in their place of business and on their website? If so, bring it on. With both of my (straight) children currently planning their weddings, we’ll know exactly which businesses to avoid.

  6. Do they think this will stop with just same sex coupled? Pentecostals will discriminate against Catholics. Born Agains will discriminate against Jews. The courts will be so backed up with cases cause lawyers will be trying to interpret what their version of the bible meant. This is going to be fun. Bring it on haters!

  7. Refusal based on religious beliefs? This argument is ridiculous if you really believe this is not about discrimination. The Bible says homosexuality is a sin. A same-sex couple gets denied service. So, what if a heterosexual couple wants service, however, one is divorced and remarrying? The Bible calls it adultery, a sin. Will that couple be refused service? No. Why? Because they are heterosexual. This bill supports the right of a business to discriminate against same-sex couples, that is its purpose.

  8. So why can a bakery owned by a gay couple refuse service to a straight couple but when roles are reversed they are in the wrong

  9. OKAY … now it IS close to home.. Get these idiots out of the legislature. If people don’t cast votes in local elections while voting for president, the creeps get elected. THAT’s how they took over both houses FOUR YEARS AGO … too many people only voted for president. BAD politicians are elected because GOOD citizens don’t vote!!

  10. I think that private business have the right to refuse services on account of their religious beliefs. The government should have zero say in that. Muslims don’t want to serve Christians? Fine. I would be embarrassed but I certainly wouldn’t even think that the government should step in. Gays don’t want to serve straight people? Not the governments problem. I classify discrimination as things you can’t change, like skin color or sex. Are you gay? That’s your choice. Muslim? Also a choice. Christian? Choice as well. Not everybody’s gonna like you for it. Government shouldn’t pick sides. Government can make gay “marriage” legal but they should have no say in making shop owners serve them. If a straight couple who had each been divorced I wouldn’t serve them unless they made it clear the reasons of the previous divorces were for Godly reasons. I ought to have the right not to serve anyone, if I own a business. No government should tell me otherwise.

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