Push to pass marriage bill begins

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Two DFL lawmakers from Minneapolis unveiled legislation today that would legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota.

Sen. Scott Dibble and Rep. Karen Clark outlined their proposal during a State Capitol news conference, surrounded by supportive clergy members and families. The effort follows last November’s defeat of a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Dibble said the legislation affirms the things that people share throughout the state.

“This is a day to be very very proud to be a Minnesotan,” Dibble said. “Because Minnesotans have rallied around this unifying, this clarifying discussion about the power of love in our lives.”

Dibble said he doesn’t know if there are enough votes now to pass the bill, but he believes they’re close. He said he expects supporters to engage with their legislators on the issue in the coming weeks.

Clark said she thinks there will be voters spoke loudly last fall.

“It was a very clear statement, and I think we’re now ready to take the next step,” Clark said.

The legislation has one Republican co-author. Sen. Branden Peterson, R-Andover, did not attend the news conference but issued a statement.

“As a strong proponent of limited government, conservative principles and individual liberty, I am proud to add my name as a co-author of legislation to secure the freedom to marry for same-sex couple in Minnesota,” Peterson wrote.

The bill would strike the language in current law that prohibits same-sex marriage, but would also make it clear that churches are not required to marry anyone. The formal introduction of the bill will come Thursday in the House and Senate.

Opponents of the efforts scheduled an afternoon news conference to respond.

UPDATE: Several Republican lawmakers held their own news conference to blast the marriage bill.

They claim it would redfine the institution of marriage in a radical new direction. Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, said the supporters of proposed legalization of gay marriage have misinterpreted the message voters sent last fall.

“It is in no way a mandate from the people of Minnesota,” Limmer said. “The people simply said that they didn’t want to include the definition of marriage, as it is written in Minnesota state law, and include it in the state constitution.”

Other Republicans, including one ordained minister, suggested that the proposed change could infringe on religious freedom, even with the exemption in the bill.

Sen. Dan Hall, R-Burnsville, said he doesn’t want to be forced one day to perform a marriage that he objects to.

“I personally will go to jail before I ever perform a marriage to a homosexual,” Hall said.

(photo: Tim Pugmire)

  • Lisa Lorenz

    Mr. Hall must live in a very tiny world if he truly believes that his family/friends will never have a gay family member in it. Here’s to same sex marriages!!!!

    (And by the way…..I was lucky enough to marry the one I love….a man.)

  • Paulette DeMers

    Today I am proud to be from Minnesota. Hopefully the bill passes “with flying colors”. This is the right thing to do and hopefully those who are biased or ignorant against the proposal will someday see the light.

  • Nathaniel

    State Senator Hall’s claim is pretty empty considering that no self-respecting GLBT person would ever permit Mr. Hall to perform his/her marriage. I have my doubts that Mr. Hall would be so boastful about his willingess to go to jail if there were any likelihood that it would actually happen.

  • Disco

    When I hear paranoid delusions like those of Mr Limmer, an image of someone like him pops into my head. Someone from the deep south who feared for the very fabric of civilization if coloreds married whites.

  • RaflW

    It is also worth noting that Senate Minority Leader David Hann has said the GOP members can vote yes on this bill without fear of party reprisal.

    And to add to Pat Anderson’s PiPress op-ed yesterday, some 80 national Republicans signed on to a groundbreaking Supreme Court brief calling for the overturn of the CA Prop 8 decision. In effect, those 80 are saying “legalize same sex marriage in California.”

    So the tide is rapidly turning. Republicans are beginning to see that honoring love and commitment through the institution of civil marriage does make conservative sense for same-sex couples.

  • john Ter Wisscha

    Have you ever read God’s word, THE BIBLE? He created nale and female to have children. And remember, God destroyed Sodom and Gomara for the sin of homosexuality. I hope you want to see Jesus in heaven when you die???