Policast: GOP lawmaker taking heat for support of same-sex marriage

Policast for March 11, 2013:

The only Republican in the Legislature currently supporting a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota said he’s already taken some heat from constituents for his stance.

“I always take that very seriously,” Sen. Branden Petersen of Andover told MPR’s Cathy Wurzer on Monday. “Issues like this that are really about equal justice under the law and that are transcendent ideas in our democracy, I don’t think you should ever make those decisions just because 50 percent plus 1 percent of people believe it ought to be done.”

Some have said the same-sex marriage bill is moving too quickly. Petersen disagrees.

“When you’re talking about equal protection and equal justice under the law, it’s always the right time to stand up for those issues.”

Petersen, 27, is the Senate bill’s co-author. He said that young Republicans and older members of the party are divided on the issue of same-sex marriage.

“Every piece of data shows that Republicans, in particular under the age of 30, actually the majority support marriage equality under the law,” Petersen said. “That’s the beginning of a trend that I think is a good thing for Republicans as well.”

Petersen, who voted along with most other Republicans in 2011 to put a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage on the ballot, said he changed his stance after “reflection.”

Committees in both the state House and Senate will consider bills legalizing same-sex marriage tomorrow.

The entire discussion with Sen. Branden Petersen can be heard on the March 11, 2013 episode of Policast. That episode also includes an interview with Rep. Pat Garofalo on his bill that would shrink the size of the Minnesota Legislature.

Policast is a daily roundup of Minnesota political news hosted by Mike Mulcahy and Cathy Wurzer. Subscribe on iTunes.

  • Marge miller

    Sen b. peterson is young and arrigant and is being swayed by the gay dibble and lesbian copartner. He needs to wake up as to what his people want or face a short career in politics. The people want marriage to remain as a union between one man and one woman

  • annie

    Marge, Senator Petersen is on the right side of history. Don’t presume to speak for “the people” because this person (and millions of others in MN) disagree with your views on marriage. Legislators should represent their constituents but above all the senator has it right when he says: “When you’re talking about equal protection and equal justice under the law, it’s always the right time to stand up for those issues.” In other words, Doing the right thing is more important than being re-elected. I applaud him for that.

  • Beth M

    Senator Petersen is doing what America was built on- rights and freedoms for ALL, not just certain groups of people. If two consenting adults choose to be married, it is their right because this is America, not communist America, not Christian-only America.

    Marge- you have the right to your own opinion, but you do not have the right to deny the same rights to other couples.

    Canada legalized gay marriage in 2005 and the country is still doing fine.