HERE WE GO AGAIN

Is Minnesota Next In Line For A Religious Freedom Bill?

09GazelkaMeet Paul Gazelka. He’s the Republican State senator from Minnesota who has decided to make it his personal mission to try and pass a religious freedom bill in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

“I was one of the legislators who opposed gay marriage, but even then I said that gays and lesbians should be able to live as they choose,” Gazelka (pictured) recently said. “I’m simply asking that Christians and people of faith be allowed to live as they choose without … threat of punishment.”

Gazelka’s bill would grant small business owners the legal right to deny services for same-sex weddings on religious grounds. It comes in response to venue that had to pay a fine last year after being found guilty of breaking the law when it refused to host a same-sex wedding.

Related: Five Ways That Indiana’s Antigay Law Actually Made Things Better For Us

Naturally, gay rights activists aren’t happy about Gazelka’s proposed bill.

“We see this as an attack on the freedom to marry for same-sex couples,” said Monica Meyer, executive director of the gay-rights organization OutFront. “Providing a commercial service doesn’t mean that the religious owner is endorsing any of their customers at all. They’re just providing a commercial service.”

She added: “Our country always does better when we treat people equally.”

State Sen. Scott Dibble, who sponsored the state’s law legalizing same-sex marriage in 2013, called Gazelka’s measure a “stink bomb.”

“It’s unfortunate he’s putting a stink bomb right in front of the Legislature at this point in the session,” Dibble said.

Related: INTERVIEW: Scott Dibble Says Anti-Gay Republicans Are Helping Create Marriage Equality

Even top Republican leaders are keeping their distance from the bill. Evidently, they, unlike Gazelka, learned a thing or two from the fallout that happened in Indiana when lawmakers there passed a similar bill earlier this year.

House Speaker Kurt Daudt said he didn’t “know the first thing about” Gazelka’s bill, and Senate Minority Leader David Hann said he agrees “with the concept” of protecting the rights of people opposed to same-sex marriage but hadn’t yet “looked at the text” of the proposal.

But before you get too worked up, don’t. The bill doesn’t have a chance in hell of ever passing. Minnesota is a solid blue state with a Democratic governor. Gazelka is just wasting everyone’s time, and tarnishing his reputation in the process.