Religious objection bill for small businesses surfaces in Minnesota Senate

Published 8:19 am Friday, May 8, 2015

ST. PAUL — A move to let small businesses, religious groups and government workers bow out of marriage ceremonies they object to on religious grounds has surfaced in the Minnesota Senate.

It’s much narrower than religious objection legislation in Indiana that caused a national uproar before it was revised. Sen. Paul Gazelka’s bill only concerns marriage ceremonies and any goods and services surrounding them.

The Nisswa Republican says he wants to start a conversation and won’t push the issue this year. He says people like ministers, photographers and caterers should have the right to pass on marriage ceremonies that offend their beliefs. But his bill would only apply to small businesses and government workers if couples could find similar services elsewhere.

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Minnesota legalized same-sex marriage in 2013.