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Thirty-five Republican members of the Minnesota Legislature sent a letter to North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory on Thursday offering him praise and support for that state’s new law that bars transgender people from using the restroom and outlaws any efforts to protect LGBTQ people in employment. The new law has sparked outrage, protest, and mass boycotts including a ban on state travel issued by Gov. Mark Dayton.

“We agree with Governor McCrory that this legislation is not about discrimination of the homosexual community, but the protection of all people, especially women and children in isolated, public bathrooms and showers,” said Representative Abigail Whelan in a statement accompanying the letter.

Despite Whelan’s statement, the new law does authorize discrimination against the “homosexual community” by prohibiting nondiscrimination laws and blocking the ability to sue for discrimination. It does not ban “homosexual” people from using public bathrooms and showers as she asserts. It bans transgender people from using public bathrooms and showers, and members of that community may or may not be homosexual – or more accurately gay, lesbian, bisexual, or queer. Whelan appears to have incorrectly conflated sexual orientation with gender identity.

The letter states:

As fellow elected officials, we would like to extend our sincere thanks to you for being a courageous voice for common sense in protecting the safety and privacy of the citizens in your state.

The recent protests from our state and others in response to North Carolina’s private bathroom protection bill are unfortunate. These views do not represent our views, nor those of the vast majority of Minnesotans. We wholeheartedly agree with you on the importance of protecting the safety and privacy for all citizens. All people have a right to privacy in bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers with separate facilities for each sex.

We hope to implement similar protections in Minnesota and recently introduced legislation to that end. We applaud your efforts to protect the privacy and safety of all, especially our children. Than you for your exemplary courage and leadership in securing these rights in your state. We hope to visit the “First in Flight” State someday and encourage all Minnesotans to do the same.

We stand with you, Governor McCrory.

The letter was signed by: Reps. Abigail Whelan of Anoka, Bob Gunther of Fairmont, Sondra Erickson of Princeton, Tony Cornish of Vernon Center, Matt Dean of Dellwood, Bob Dettmer of Forest Lake, Steve Drazkowski of Mazeppa, Peggy Scott of Andover, Mary Franson of Alexandria, Glenn Gruenhagen of Glencoe, Dave Hancock of Bemidji, Kathy Lohmer of Stillwater, Joe McDonald of Delano, Mark Anderson of Lake Shore, Steve Green of Fosston, Jim Newberger of Becker, Cindy Pugh of Chanhassen, Jeff Backer of Browns Valley, Brian Daniels of Faribault, Josh Heintzeman of Nisswa, Eric Lucero of Dayton, Tim Miller of Prinsburg, and Jim Nash of Waconia

It was also signed by Sens. Warren Limmer of Maple Grove, Paul Gazelka of Nisswa, Bruce Anderson of Buffalo, Dave Thompson of Lakeville, Mary Kiffmeyer of Big Lake, Torrey Westrom of Elbow Lake, Sean Nienow of Cambridge, Dan Hall of Burnsville, Roger Chamberlain of Lino Lakes, Gary Dahms of Redwood Falls, Bill Weber of Luverne, and Bill Ingebrigtsen of Alexandria.

Here’s the full letter:

Download (PDF, 220KB)

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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.

4 COMMENTS

  1. All of these names are so familiar from the Minnesota culture wars of the last decade. It’s beyond pathetic that they are still fighting losing battles while REAL social problems–unemployment, homelessness, etc–need their time and attention.

  2. Shannon, how is what you are calling a battle by the Republicans any different than the battle the Democrats are pushing? They are the ones pushing for these LGBT issues which you must see as non REAL social issues according to your comment. Shouldn’t both parties be more concerned with things like unemployment, homelessness, infrastructure, (crumbling roads and bridges that have killed people in our recent history?) Personally I think both parties are concerned with these latter issues, they just have different methods to solve the problems.

  3. I applaud these Republicans for sending this letter. I believe we need to protect our vulnerable as well. Women and young girls do not need people of the opposite sex in the most private of places with them. I would sign my name to the letter as well. There are already facilities available called family restrooms that can be used if you feel uncomfortable using a specifically labeled restroom.

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