Tim Pawlenty on Civil Rights

Republican MN Governor


Voted for GLBT protection; later favored repealing the law

Pawlenty's first controversial vote came only a few months into office when, in 1993, he supported a bill extending GLBT protection under the state Human Rights Act. The bill safeguarded gays and lesbians from discrimination in employment, housing, education, and public accommodations.

Because of his yes vote, Pawlenty's conservative credentials were questioned a decade later when running for governor. He said he regretted the vote and favored repealing the law: "If I had to do it over again, I would have changed some things. The statute is not worded the way it should be. I said I regretted the vote later because it included things like cross-dressing, and a variety of behaviors that weren't based on sexual orientation, just a preference for the way they dressed or behaved. So it was overly broad. If you are a 3rd-grade teacher and you are a man and you show up on Monday as Mr. Johnson and you show up on Tuesday as Mrs. Johnson, that is a little confusing to kids."

Source: Sam's Club Republican, by J.A. McClure, p. 13-14 , May 10, 2010

Opposite-sex marriage is cornerstone of society

In March 1997, Pawlenty supported a ban on same-sex marriage, saying the state would not discriminate against homosexuals, but neither would it "sanction or elevate their behavior."

Pawlenty said in a 2002 debate that "opposite-sex marriage is the cornerstone of our society." In a 2009 interview, he affirmed his opposition to gay marriage rights: "My general view on all of this is that marriage is to be defined as being a union of a man and a woman. Marriage should be elevated in our society at a special level. I don't think all domestic relationships are the equivalent of traditional marriage. Early on we decided as a country and as a state that there was value in a man and a woman being married in terms of impact on children and the like, and we want to encourage that."

Source: Sam's Club Republican, by J.A. McClure, p. 14&63 , May 10, 2010

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Page last updated: Oct 28, 2021