ERA would create ‘blank check’ to discriminate against people of faith, expert warns

The proposed amendment does not include any protections against religious discrimination.

Supporters of the Equal Rights Amendments gathered in the Capitol Rotunda Monday on the first day of the legislative session. (Photo by Catherine Davis/Minnesota Senate Media Services)

The Minnesota Queer Caucus held a press conference Thursday to reaffirm their support for the so-called “Equal Rights Amendment” (ERA). Attempting to enshrine abortion and gender identity into Minnesota’s constitution, the ERA is a major priority for the Democratic majorities in Minnesota’s state legislature.

“We are going to pass the most inclusive, comprehensive ERA off the floor that we can this year,” said Rep. Leigh Finke, a transgender legislator and chair of the Queer Caucus.

Introducing themselves with their preferred pronouns, the Queer Caucus and other members of Minnesota’s “2SLGBTQIA+” community discussed all they did to support Minnesota’s sexual minorities in 2023, including making Minnesota a “Trans Refuge” state and banning conversion therapy.

However, the purpose of yesterday’s press conference was to discuss the Queer Caucus’ goals for 2024; chief among them is passage of the ERA.

With support throughout the Democratic majorities in the Minnesota House and Minnesota Senate, the ERA has been a top priority for many politicians in recent years. In 2024, the ERA may be approved by the legislature and placed on the ballot for consideration by the public. Currently, the proposed amendment to Minnesota’s constitution reads:

“All persons shall be guaranteed equal rights under the laws of this state. The state shall not discriminate against any person in intent or effect on account of race, color, national origin, ancestry, disability, or sex, including but not limited to pregnancy, pregnancy outcomes and reproductive freedom, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.”

With a simple majority vote by the Minnesota House and Minnesota Senate, this version of the ERA could be placed on the ballot to be voted on by the whole state in the 2026 election. If approved by voters, the ERA would be enshrined in Minnesota’s constitution.

While the text and name of the amendment appear positive to many, the consequences of enshrining this amendment in the Minnesota Constitution are considered extensive, sinister, and grievous, policy experts explained to Alpha News.

“This proposed state constitutional amendment is unnecessary and will be used to impose the most extreme forms of gender ideology on Minnesotans,” said Maggee Hangge,
a policy associate with the Minnesota Catholic Conference. “It will be used to override statutory and other constitutional protections for rights of speech, religion, and association. Notably, the new language being proposed by proponents does not include protection for religious discrimination.”

Referring to the ERA as the “Erosion of Rights Amendment,” Hangge elaborated by saying the proposed amendment “will give judges a blank check to create new forms of discrimination and impose penalties on those who do not conform, such as people of faith and religious institutions.”

Maggee Hangge, a policy associate with the Minnesota Catholic Conference, testifies during a March 2023 Minnesota House committee hearing. (Minnesota House Info/YouTube)

Further, Hangge said the ERA “would essentially create a constitutional right to abortion. This will make it very difficult in the future to put safeguards in place or to enact any limitations on the practice of abortion, such as waiting periods, parental notification, or mandatory ultrasounds.”

Despite these consequences, Rep. Finke and others demand ratification of the ERA.

“We must ensure that trans people are afforded a full and equal access to protections in perpetuity,” said Rep. Finke, a biological man. “Which is why we must pass a fully inclusive Equal Rights Amendment this year. Minnesota has the chance to cement the rights of trans, non-binary, two-spirit, and intersex individuals in our state constitution, in what would be a nation-leading initiative to protect queer and intersex people.”

At Thursday’s press conference, Rep. Finke claimed “2SLGBTQIA+ individuals” across the United States “are facing the most intense assault of anti-trans and LGBTQ legislation that we have ever seen.”

OutFront Minnesota, the state’s largest pro-LGBT group, was also in attendance at the press conference. Speaking about a new influx of sexual minorities coming to Minnesota, OutFront executive director Kat Rohn said more than 150 families have moved to Minnesota because of the state’s recently authorized “Trans Refuge” law. Rohn, a transgender person who is a biological man, said 47% of all transgender people across the country are considering moving to a new state to avoid “discrimination.”

Just days ago, Rep. Finke introduced a bill that would use taxpayer dollars to help sexual minorities move to Minnesota.


Luke Sprinkel

Luke Sprinkel previously worked as a Legislative Assistant at the Minnesota House of Representatives. He grew up as a Missionary Kid (MK) living in England, Thailand, Tanzania, and the Middle East. Luke graduated from Regent University in 2018.