Court Rules With State Employees Opposing Pro-Gay Content in a Diversity Program

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

MINNEAPOLIS - U.S. District Court Judge Ann Montgomery decided Monday that the Constitutional rights of three employees of the Shakopee women's prison had been violated when they were disciplined for reading their Bibles during a mandatory training class discussing homosexuality.

Prison guards' Kristen Larson and Kenneth Yackly and painter Thomas Altman were required to attend a day of diversity training in 1997 that they considered "state-sponsored propaganda" on homosexuality. After attending the session, during which they quietly read their Bibles, the employees were reprimanded for insubordination.

The case presented no evidence the workers treated homosexuals differently or inappropriately; they merely read their Bibles during the training course which upset the diversity trainers and correction facility supervisors.

"This is a significant victory for critics of state-sponsored diversity programs," said Tom Prichard, president of the Minnesota Family Institute. "Diversity programs are often thinly veiled efforts to indoctrinate employees with pro-homosexual material."

"The court's decision sends a very strong message to governmental agencies that the use of diversity programs as a 'tool' to indoctrinate workers is unacceptable," said Prichard.

"Many of these diversity programs are, frankly, anything but diverse," continued Prichard. "Rather, they are vehicles for forcing a liberal orthodoxy on unwilling participants."

"We're considering asking the legislature to include in state law a provision allowing government workers who object to diversity programs for reason of conscience or religious conviction to be excused without fear of reprisal or having to go to court to secure their rights," concluded Prichard.

The Minnesota Family Institute is Minnesota's largest nonprofit, non-partisan pro-family organization.