Despite Dayton's ban, Minn. lawmakers say go to N.C. anyway

- Gov. Mark Dayton may have banned all nonessential state travel to North Carolina in the wake of an act that bans transgender individuals from using restrooms appropriate for their gender identities and limits protections for the LGBT community, but at least three dozen Minnesota lawmakers sent a letter Thursday saying they stand with North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory.

The letter, in part, says, "The recent protests from our state and others in response to North Carolina's private bathroom protection are unfortunate. These views do not represent our views, nor those of a vast majority of Minnesotans." 

35 lawmakers signed the letter. 

"We agree with Governor McCrory that this legislation is not about discrimination of the homosexual community, but the protection of all people, especially women and children in isolated, public bathrooms and showers," Rep. Abigail Whelan (R-Anoka) said in a statement.

Sen. Warren Limmer (R-Maple Grove) one of the cosigners of the letter, said he and other legislators had been hearing a lot of concerns from their constituents regarding the issue. 

"We think we should be cautious," Limmer said. "We think we need to protect the public not necessarily from transgender people but those who may have criminal intent, throw a little mascara on their face and can sit in a bathroom and wait for a victim." 

The letter comes after the LGBT community spoke out about a similar bill to North Carolina's law that received a hearing in the state House of Representatives this week. 

"This is one of those right-wing tagenital issues they're trying to gain traction with old Moral Majority or whatever," Dayton said. "It's a valid concern for people or whatever. But given everything else we're dealing with here and now with less than six weeks to go, you'd think they'd find better things to do - like a budget."

Whelan and Limmer have both said they hope to visit North Carolina soon and encourage all Minnesotans to do the same.

READ THIS NEXT - Dayton bans non-essential travel to North Carolina

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