Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Minnesota Safe and Supportive Schools Bill is in Keeping with Catholic Values


By Mary Beth Stein

Note: The following was first published February 13, 2014 as a letter-to-the-editor in the Twin Cities' Pioneer Press.

The Minnesota Catholic Conference rejects the Safe and Supportive Schools bill, expressing concern that the bill is part of a larger agenda to normalize same-sex attraction. These suspicions reflect the attitude of some of the ordained Church leaders but not the heart and soul of Catholics in the pews. As was demonstrated in the high Catholic percentage who voted against the marriage amendment, we already accept same-sex attraction as normal. Everyone is created by God; who are we to judge? Rather than judge we are called to cherish.

The real issue at hand is protecting students. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students are frequent targets of bullying. The concern for all Catholics, indeed all Minnesotans, is to protect these and other vulnerable students from harm. What could be more in keeping with Catholic values?


Background Information and Action Steps

The Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act:

House File 826: The bill was passed in the House in May, 2013, and sent to the Senate.

Senate File 783: The bill was tabled in May, 2013, and is currently in Finance Committee. The MN legislature convenes February 20, 2014.

Legislators to Call: Finance Committee Chair Dick Cohen (651) 296-5931, asking him to pass the bill out of committee and send it to the Senate floor for a vote as soon as the legislative session begins.

Senator Scott Dibble, the author of the bill and member of the Senate Finance Committee, (651) 296-4191, supporting him in moving the bill onto the Senate floor.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk (651) 296-8881, asking him to facilitate the bill's passing on the Senate floor.

Council of the Baptized Position Paper:
Catholic Support for Anti-Bullying Legislation Without Exemption for Private Schools – Daniel DeWan, Lisa Vanderlinden and Patty Thorsen (February 11, 2014).

See also the previous PCV posts:
MN Catholic Bishops Oppose Anti-Bullying Legislation – April 6, 2013.
In the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, "Regime Change is Not Enough" – November 10, 2013.

Related Off-site Links:
Groups Organize Support for Safe Schools Bill – Andy Birkey (, February 12, 2014).
Bullying's a Problem. Could This Proposed Minnesota Law Be a Solution? – Christopher Magan (Pioneer Press, February 8, 2014).
Pioneer Press Fails to Identify Anti-LGBT Lobbyist in Bullying Report – Andy Birkey (, February 10, 2014).
GOP, Tea Parties Forge Ties with Anti-Gay Group to Stop Safe Schools Bill – Andy Birkey (The, January 27, 2014).
Meet the Team Behind the Minnesota Child Protection League – Andy Birkey (The, January 8, 2014).
Catholic Hierarchy's Rhetoric Does Not Reflect Changes to Safe and Supportive Schools Act – Rep. Jim Davnie (MinnPost, April 26, 2013).
The Minnesota Safe Schools for All Coalition


  1. Brava, Mary Beth. As one of our colleagues, Michael Anderson, said: what is wrong with having an agenda? We all have them, or should.
    The problem is about dualism again, don't you think? Either/Or. "If THIS is right, then THAT has to be wrong." It seems there is a growing sense that all sorts of differences can all be right and good. I suppose the uncertainty of that way of thinking would make some people fearful that "anything goes." We can still trust humans to seek the good, if Thomas Aquinas was right. Or have I got that wrong?

  2. Just who is supporting this bill, besides Scott Dibble and his people?

    How come nobody talks about "playground" bullies picking on fat kids, small kids, ugly kids, clumsy kids, etc? There seems to be only one group that wants this 4,000 word bill passed.

    Why don't you call a spade a spade? This bill's intent is to punish those who don't agree with the redefinition of marriage and to re-educated them, beginning in pre-school and kindergarten indoctrination classes.

  3. There is a broad coalition of people including pediatricians, parents of children with disabilities, and many faith groups. Read the list here

    The purpose of this bill is to keep ALL children safe in school so they can learn. There is no re-education component!