Minnesotans know Glenn Gruenhagen isn't shy about sharing his opinions, however much he whines about how he's a waif amid the forces of political correctness. Yes, it's truly a burden to be asked by one's colleagues not to break into arias condemning butt sex when the topic before the local school board is something else, (see LTE mid-post) but most folks we know just think it's something of a boundary issue for Glenn.
Glenn's back in the news today for Aaron Rupar's viral post at City Pages, MNGOP Rep. Gruenhagen on climate change: "It's just a complete United Nations fraud", but closer to home, he's calling for measures to protect "the right as citizens, parents and school officials to passively resist the gay agenda coming into our schools."
The gay agenda! United Nations fraud! The world is a scary, scary place.
Gruenhagen shares his Thoughts on passage of state’s gay marriage bill with the readers of the McLeod County Enterprise:
This may be difficult to believe, but as a long-term school board member, I do not make this statement lightly. I have personal experience as a board member, where state statutes were changed and eventually school curriculum and speech had to conform. I was then chided for public comments on school issues when I used terminology that was not politically correct.
. . .With regularity Mr. Gruenhagen inserts his own biases into school board meetings with not the least provocation. Abortion, homosexuality, safe sex, evolution and countless other topics that do not appear on the school board’s agenda are brought to the fore, repeatedly, and forced onto unsuspecting school board members, administrators and individuals in the viewing audience. To do so is rude, a violation of school board decorum, a waste of attendees’ time and a disruption in the flow of otherwise quality public meetings. He ignores the expert advice of the superintendent of schools, two architectural firms, a construction management firm ... Incredible! . . .
The link to the Glencoe paper at the earlier Bluestem post doesn't work anymore, but a diligent researcher could find it in a copy of the print edition.
Gruenhagen continues in the more recent post:
In other countries and in the state of Massachusetts, where gay marriage has become the law, we have observed that citizens who would not succumb to politically correct speech have been charged with hate crimes and their parental rights infringed upon. (See www.massresistance.com for more information.)[Link is live in original MCC post online]
When signed, this bill will become the law of our state. We are a nation of laws, however we still have the right as citizens, parents and school officials to passively resist the gay agenda coming into our schools.
What is MassResistance? From the Wikipedia entry for the group:
MassResistance is a Waltham, Massachusetts-based anti-gay group that promotes socially conservative positions on issues relating to homosexuality, abortion, anti-bullying, gun control, the transgender community and same-sex marriage. It was founded by Brian Camenker in 1995 as the Parents' Rights Coalition, and in 2003 it changed its name to Article 8 Alliance. It adopted its current name, MassResistance, in 2006.
The group has been critical of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney for maintaining moderate positions on LGBT rights during his term as governor. The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated MassResistance an anti-gay hate group, in part for its claim that suicide prevention programs aimed at gay youth were "put together by homosexual activists to normalize homosexuality".
Lovely. And there's more:
In 1996 MassResistance's leader, Brian Camenker claimed that suicide prevention programs aimed at gay youth actually were “put together by homosexual activists to normalize homosexuality”. MassResistance also asserted that groups such as the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), which support school anti-bullying programs, actually want to "lure children into homosexuality and, very possibly, sadomasochism".
MassResistance has made claims that no homosexuals died in the The Holocaust of World War II, that the "pink triangle the Nazis forced imprisoned gays to wear actually signified Catholic priests", and that "gays are dangerous to kids". They have also made comments regarding "skyrocketing homosexual domestic violence" and called a gay pride event a "depraved" display that featured "a great deal of obviously disturbed, dysfunctional, and extremely self-centered people whose aim was to push their agenda".
If that's where the Glencoe Republican gets his information when he goes online, no wonder he's so afraid. Gruenhagen goes on in his column to cite one "self-confessed homosexual" coming after his religious rights:
As an example of this threat to religious liberty, University of Minnesota constitutional professor Dale Carpenter, a self-confessed homosexual, errantly wrote an editorial arguing that the religious freedoms in our Bill of Rights is “limited to the right to worship” only in our churches, instead of the current robust religious freedoms we enjoy. In truth, it is the right of each American under the Bill of Rights to act in accordance with their conscience and religious beliefs in the public square, not just in our churches. As you can see by the professors comments, the threat to religious freedoms is real.
What was Carpenter's "errancy"? Here's the editorial (the link to which Gruenhagen forgot to provide, unlike the one to the hate group) in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Dale Carpenter: The rites and rights of marriage. Here's part of what Carpenter said:
. . . Nor is there any basis for fearing a flood of lawsuits against religious individuals or businesses. Consider an obvious fact: there is no right to sue simply because you don't like what someone else believes or does. You must have a legal basis, a "cause of action," spelled out in the law. The Minnesota Human Rights Act ("MHRA") prohibits discrimination by businesses against people because of their race, sex, or religion.
Since 1993, the MHRA has also prohibited businesses from discriminating against a person based on sexual orientation in jobs, housing, and services. In 20 years, despite what opponents predicted at the time, there have been very few claims of such discrimination in Minnesota. This is partly because there are comparatively few gay people, partly because most businesses have no interest in discriminating against customers and hard-working employees who happen to be gay, and partly because the MHRA specifically allows religious nonprofit associations and schools to discriminate against gays.
There is no additional cause of action provided in the marriage bill. That's why it's puzzling that opponents claim business owners and others with religious objections will be punished for their religious beliefs. On what ground would a gay person sue a business owner or religious association simply because he's now married?
If he did not have a valid claim before passage of the marriage bill, the newly married gay person will not have one now. If a religious organization was exempt from compliance with the MHRA before the marriage bill, it will be exempt afterward. In case there was any doubt about this, the marriage bill explicitly states that it "does not alter or affect the protections or exemptions provided in" the MHRA to any "religious association, educational institution, business, labor organization, place of public accommodation, employer, or other person." The exemptions in the MHRA are already among the most expansive in the country, especially where claims of anti-gay discrimination are concerned... .
Carpenter really didn't get into a discussion of schools, so Gruenhagen's representation of the editorial is peculiar.
How threatened are religious liberties? Check out Richard Painter's post at the Legal Ethics Forum, Key Amendment Introduced by Minnesota State Representative David Fitzsimmons Protects Churches and other Religious Organizations from Frivolous Lawsuits.
Screenshot: Glenn Gruenhagen, Republican from Glencoe.
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