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Debate delays vote on Minnesota House equal rights amendment protecting gender identity, abortion rights

Minnesota Democrats hope to pass Equal Rights Amendment before session ends
Minnesota Democrats hope to pass Equal Rights Amendment before session ends 01:35

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota House on Monday delayed a vote on an amendment enshrining equal rights in the Minnesota Constitution, including protections for abortion rights and gender identity, after a prolonged debate on other bills.

The amendment says that "the state shall not discriminate against any person in intent or effect on account of one or more of the following: race; color; national origin; ancestry; disability and sex," including "making and effectuating decisions about all matters relating to one's own pregnancy or decision whether to become or remain pregnant." The latter is intended to protect abortion rights and other reproductive health care.

The setback for the equal rights amendment, or ERA, vote Monday comes as lawmakers are nearing adjournment in a week on May 20. There are only a few "legislative days" left that allow them to vote on bills.

The House adjourned at around midnight after Republicans spent more than seven hours raising their concerns with a bill restricting "junk fees" and another bill with election policies. The soonest the proposal could be brought up for a vote is Wednesday.

If it passes the House, the ERA would need to go back to the Senate for the final OK before it would move to the statewide ballot for voter input in 2026.

It also has language protecting gender identity or gender expression and sexual orientation. But missing is language about "religion," which is drawing concern among some faith leaders. Others condemn language related to abortion rights.

A version of the amendment that passed the Senate last year with bipartisan support did not include the pregnancy language.

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