With LGBTQ+ activist Steve Endean quietly lobbying alderman (city councillor) Earl Netwal, and visiting other city officials daily in 1973, the groundwork was being laid for a municipal non-discrimination ordinance that would protect the LGBTQ+ community.

The full city council, supported by the work of the Minnesota Committee for Gay and Lesbian Rights, voted 10-0 to ban discrimination on the basis of “affectional or sexual preference” in March 1974. The ordinance was signed into law my Mayor Al Hofstede on April 4.

The relatively uneventful passage of Minneapolis' non-discrimination clause was again matched the following year, when an amendment to include protections for the transgender community was added in 1975, without protest.

Minneapolis Celebrates 50th Anniversary

50th Anniversary

On the other side of the river

St. Paul's non-discrimination ordinance has a similar trajectory, along with 40 other major cities across the country, a non-discrimination ordinance passed the city council in 1974.

Unlike Minneapolis, leaders inspired by the success of Anita Bryant's Miami campaign in 1977 mobilized to repeal St. Paul's gay rights law. The Citizens Alert for Morality (CAM) gathered more than 7,000 signatures throughout the winter of 1978, forcing a referendum to repeal the non-discrimination ordinance on the spring ballot.

The effort was countered by the Minnesota Committee for Gay Rights, the Target City Coalition, and the St. Paul Citizens for Human Rights. Differences in strategy and organizing tactics prevented the groups from forming a cohesive message, and the repeal passed in St. Paul in a nearly 2-1 vote.

St. Paul approved a non-discrimination ordinance for a second time in 1991. 

On April 11, 2024, the Minneapolis City Council passed a resolution celebrating the 50th anniversary of the passage of the gay civil rights ordinance.

Save Our Children was the first organized opposition to the gay rights movement. First formed to repeal a non-discrimination ordinance in Miami, the group later targeted cities across the country in an attempt to remove legal protections for the LGBTQ+ community.

Further Reading