Republican Cites 'Duck Dynasty' When Discussing Race-Based Discrimination

A Republican state senator in Minnesota cited the reality TV show Duck Dynasty on Thursday during a debate on legislation designed to prevent race-based discrimination.

Senators were considering the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act that protects "traits associated with race, including but not limited to hair texture and hairstyles such as braids, locs, and twists."

Republican state Senator Nathan Wesenberg proposed an amendment to the bill that would add beards to the list of protected traits, citing the fact that he had received emails describing his own beard as "ugly."

Wesenberg sports a Duck Dynasty-style beard, according to a Thursday report by The Minnesota Informer, and two of his Republican colleagues spoke in favor of the amendment.

Republican state Senators Steve Drazkowski and Eric Lucero backed the amendment in comments that were later shared to Twitter and YouTube in a video posted by journalist Aaron Rupar.

Drazkowski cited Duck Dynasty, which originally aired on A&E from 2011 to 2017. The show focused on the Robertson family and their business, which made products for duck hunters.

The men of the family famously have prominent beards and Drazkowski also cited the wearing of beards in other cultures. He asked Democratic state Senator Bobby Champion, the main author of the bill, if he had ever seen Duck Dynasty.

Champion said that he had seen the show and that he had also listened to the music of ZZ Top. Two members of the band famously wear long beards. Drazkowski said he was "encouraged" that Champion had seen the show.

Addressing the president of the senate, he went on to say that "Duck Dynasty represents people of a certain culture and it appears that the author in his definition, madam president, doesn't consider that to be a culture or at least doesn't believe that this bill should apply to that culture."

Drazkowksi went on to say that bill should apply to all cultures. His comments were followed by Senator Lucero, who said that there are many cultures where "beards are clearly part and integral" and added he had traveled to Israel twice and studied the Old Testament.

"Beards are absolutely associated with the Jewish culture," Lucero said, adding that his wife was from Pakistan and he had been married in a mosque, explaining "beards are very much part" of Muslim culture.

Champion said that he respected all cultures and that the bill was aimed at tackling a specific issue. He suggested that other legislation to deal with other forms of discrimination could be brought forward.

Senator Wesenberg's amendment did not pass, while the CROWN Act was approved by a vote of 45 to 19. It has already been approved by the Minnesota House and now heads to Governor Tim Walz's desk.

Newsweek has reached out to Steve Drazkowski for comment.

Willie Robertson and Jep Robertson
In this combination image, Willie Robertson (L) and Jep Robertson attend the ACM & Cabela's Great Outdoor Archery Event during the 50th Academy of Country Music Awards at the Texas Rangers Youth Ballpark on April 18, 2015 and an inset photo of the Minnesota flag. A Minnesota state senator cited the show in a debate about a bill dealing with discrimination. iStock / Getty Images