Same sex marriage ban is one step away from reaching ballot

A constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage is one step away from being put on the 2012 ballot. The House Rules Committee narrowly passed the bill by one vote 13-12. Rep. Tim Kelly, R-Red Wing, joined every Democrat in voting against it.

Opponents say changing the constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman would open up a painful and divisive debate across Minnesota. DFL Representative Michael Paymar says it would also go against the tide of increasing acceptance toward same-sex couples.

“The public is changing,” Paymar said. “Young people are changing. People don’t feel the same way they did 10 to 14 year ago.”

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Steve Gottwalt, told the panel he rejected the argument that the referendum was discriminatory and restrictive.

“Discussing taking away rights from people? No,” Gottwalt said. “This is current state law. The desire is simply to put before the people, ‘Should we be more permanently placing it where politicians and judges cannot redefine it?’”

Minnesota law already prohibits gay marriage but supporters of the bill say it would make that ban stronger, and protect it from judicial rulings.

The Minnesota Senate already passed the measure. If the House follows suit voters will decide if the Minnesota Consitution should be amended to define marriage as between one man and one woman. If a majority of the voters voting in that election vote yes, the measure will be put in the constitution.

Here’s the roll call:

Republicans voting Yes

Dean, Daudt, Anderson, Banaian, Hamilton, Hoppe, Howes, Mack, McNamara, Nornes, Peppin, Scott, Westrom

Democrats voting No

Pelowski, Benson, Brynaert, Hilstrom, Knuth, Laine, Lillie, Murphy, Norton, Paymar, Thissen

Republicans voting No

Kelly

Democrats voting Yes

None

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