House moves to take up marriage amendment

The Minnesota House is preparing to take up the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage. Rep. Mary Liz Holberg, R-Lakeville, made a motion this afternoon to put the amendment on the Calendar for the Day. That procedural move means the House can take up the bill at any time.

“It certainly looks that way,” GOP House Majority Matt Dean said when asked by MPR News if the amendment was going to be considered tonight. He would not provide any other details.

Supporters and opponents of the amendment have been lining up outside of the House chambers with the hopes of convincing Republicans to not take up the vote. Several Republican members have also urged GOP leader to wait to pass the amendment. They said they would look bad if the House passes the it yet fails to reach a budget agreement with Gov. Dayton. Some of those members, however, say they will vote for the amendment if it comes up.

Democrats say they will use several strategies to try to shelve the amendment for the year. Rep. Karen Clark, DFL-Minneapolis, says they move to send the measure back to committee for further study. She says they’ll also try to change the bill in an effort to force the House and Senate to form a conference committee to resolve the differences in the House and Senate versions.

The Senate has already passed the amendment. If the House follows suit, a question would be put on the 2012 ballot asking voters whether marriage should be defined as “between one man and one woman.” The State Constitution would be amended if a majority of those voting in the election vote yes.

The state already bans same-sex marriage in law, but supporters of the amendment say putting the language in the Constitution would prevent a judge from overturning the law. Opponents say adopting the amendment would enshrine discrimination in the state’s founding document.

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