A bill to turn Minnesota into a sort of refuge state for transgender youths passed the state House in the early hours of Friday morning, bucking the trend of states clamping down on transgender rights.
Democrats have a trifecta in Minnesota, controlling the state House, Senate and the governor’s mansion, making full passage likely.
“To all those families across the United States that are afraid and wondering where they can go for help, Minnesota is saying we see you, we love you and you belong here,” said state Rep. Leigh Finke (D), according to the Minnesota Reformer. Finke is transgender herself.
Gov. Tim Walz already signed an executive order earlier this month preserving the right of LGBTQ people in the state to receive gender-affirming health care.
“We want every Minnesotan to grow up feeling safe, valued, protected, celebrated, and free to exist as their authentic versions of themselves,” Walz said at the time, per The Associated Press. “Protecting and supporting access to gender affirming health care is essential to being a welcoming and supportive state.”
The statute would simply provide stronger protections than the executive order. It would prevent state officials from having to comply with other states’ extradition requests, arrest warrants or subpoenas relating to gender-affirming care provided in Minnesota.
Republican-controlled states across the country have been passing or considering laws to prevent minors from receiving such care; at least one state — Florida — is also going after gender-affirming care for adults.
Generally, transitioning includes a social component and a medical component, although not every transgender person opts for any medical intervention.