MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Critics of last week’s Supreme Court ruling to legalize same-sex marriage say they’re not done fighting.
The conservative Minnesota Family Council says it will now concentrate efforts on passing laws “to ensure that people of faith aren’t forced by the government to violate their beliefs about marriage.”READ MORE: Mohamed Noor Sentenced To 57 Months For Manslaughter In Justine Ruszczyk Damond’s Shooting Death
The group is urging its supporters to back a bill from state Sen. Paul Gazelka that would allow certain business owners to refuse service to same-sex couples.
“The government is coming in and punishing them,” said Gazelka, a Republican from Nisswa, who introduced his “Freedom of Conscience” bill in May.
He said then that many business owners of faith don’t want to be part of any activities around same-sex weddings.
“It comes to the place where it is the actual celebration of the wedding that they have a moral conflict that they don’t want to participate, because they believe it’s wrong,” he said.READ MORE: Burnsville City Council Votes Unanimously To Make Juneteenth An Official City Holiday
Gazelka’s bill would allow marriage-related business owners “with a sincerely held religious belief” to refuse services to gay couples such as cake-making, flower arranging, or renting out hotel and reception facilities.
Minnesota’s new gay marriage law already exempts churches from performing gay weddings if they object to same-sex marriage.
But the legal director of Minnesota’s largest LGBT organization says the state could carve out more exemptions if it wanted to.
“When you are talking about private entities and what they are required to do, oftentimes those questions come up under state law,” said Phil Duran of OutFront Minnesota. “They are not constitutional issues, and so they can play out in more complicated ways.”
Twenty-one states currently have some form of Religious Freedom Acts, and 17 states introduced new bills this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.MORE NEWS: Minneapolis Ballot Guide: Controversial Public Safety Ballot Question
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat who signed the state’s gay marriage laws, said he will “strongly oppose” any attempts to change it.