Policast: Bill author says straight couples could form civil unions

Policast for April 4, 2013

Both same-sex and opposite-sex couples would be able to form civil unions if a proposal legalizing the unions is passed into law, according to the bill’s author.

Rep. Tim Kelly, R-Red Wing, said his civil unions bill would give same-sex couples the same rights provided by marriage. He said even opposite-sex couples would have the right to use civil unions rather than marriage.

Kelly said on MPR’s Policast that his goal is to get government out of the business of defining marriage.

“In Europe you have a civil union contract, and you go get your marriage blessed in a church if that’s what you’d like to do,” Kelly said. “It really is a religious issue.”

Supporters of a bill legalizing same-sex marriage heavily criticized the civil unions bill. House Speaker Paul Thissen DFL-Minneapolis said Wednesday that civil unions would create a “separate and unequal category for same-sex couples.”

Kelly said he planned to request a committee hearing on the bill. If denied, he said he would offer his civil union bill as an amendment on the House floor.

Kelly was one of four House Republicans who opposed putting the constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman on the ballot, which voters rejected last year.

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