Human Rights Commissioner visits WSU


Oksana Carlier/Winonan

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights is against both amendments that will be voted on in the upcoming general election, according to Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey.

“I believe the passage of the gay marriage amendment is a threat to the democracy,” Lindsey said at Winona State University Oct. 16. He went on to speculate that it would open the door for the government to regulate religion, that it was just the beginning of a long road to less freedom.

Lindsey also pointed out that the Constitution doesn’t mention God or Christianity even though Christians wrote it, which suggests that they did not think government should be guided by religion.

Lindsey mentioned the First Amendment of the Constitution and how it gives the freedom to practice a religion or to abstain, going on to detail that people will still participate in a religion if the proposed marriage amendment is not passed.

Citizens will still be able to make whatever decisions they wanted to regarding their own lives, but gays and lesbians would receive full freedom.

Regarding the voter ID amendment, Lindsey posed the question, “How is it any different than illiteracy tests?” He said, “It is clear that individuals who don’t have a photo ID, there are greater numbers as related to ethnic minorities.”

Lindsey also questioned how the government planned on examining the ID’s of military men and women stationed all across the world.

The Commissioner was sent to Winona State for a community forum preceded by a formal dinner to discuss what the Department of Human Rights does and what their stance is on the two amendments. The Winona Human Rights Commission hosted the events.

During his presentation, Lindsey explained that the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, located in Saint Paul, deals with all and any discrimination complaints that have “probable cause” and puts forth effort to engage Minnesotans on various issues related to his department and the future for citizens of Minnesota. The department looks out especially for ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities and women.

According to Lindsey, going to the Department of Human Rights is cheaper than using the Court system, and one of its departmental goals is that “every child has a chance for success.”

Lindsey is a part of a department with the aim to displace discrimination in Minnesota, Jessie Mancilla, who introduced the Commissioner, said.

Contact Oksana at [email protected]