Archived Story

Marriage bill goes to Senate

Published 11:02am Friday, May 10, 2013

Supporters already are celebrating the Minnesota House’s passage of a measure to legalize gay marriage, but there are a few more steps before it gets to Gov. Mark Dayton’s desk.

“It’s not time to uncork the champagne yet. But it’s chilling,” Rep. Steve Simon, DFL-Hopkins, said at a spirited rally in the Capitol rotunda a few minutes after the House voted 75-59 to let same-sex couples start getting married in Minnesota come Aug. 1.

The state Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill Monday, and leaders expect it to pass there too. Dayton has pledged to sign it into law, and a spokesman said the Democratic governor likely would do so at a Tuesday ceremony.

Final passage would make Minnesota the 12th state in the country to allow gay couples to wed, and the first in the Midwest to pass such a law in its Legislature. It comes just six months after the state’s voters rejected banning gay marriage in the state constitution.

The bill passed in the House after more than three hours of debate that was emotional at times but remained respectful throughout. Many hundreds of demonstrators on both sides of the issue chanted, sang and waved signs outside the House chamber, prompting heightened security at the Capitol. But no disruptions were reported.

Rep. Karen Clark, the bill’s sponsor, said her only goal was equal treatment under state law for same-sex couples. In a deeply personal speech, the Minneapolis Democrat talked of the support she got from her own family after coming out as gay decades ago.

“My family knew firsthand that same-sex couples pay our taxes, we vote, we serve in the military, we take care of our kids and our elders and we run businesses in Minnesota,” Clark said.

Four of the House’s 61 Republicans voted for the bill, while two of its 73 Democrats voted no. None of the four Republicans committed support beforehand.

One, Rep. Jenifer Loon of Eden Prairie, said she made up her mind during the debate, in which lawmakers listened with rapt attention while their colleagues spoke.

“There comes a time when you just have to set politics aside and decide in your gut what is the right thing to do,” said Loon, whose suburban district southwest of Minneapolis voted strongly against last fall’s gay marriage ban. The other Republicans to vote for gay marriage also hail from suburban or exurban districts: Pat Garofalo of Farmington, David FitzSimmons of Albertville and Andrea Kieffer of Woodbury.

Opponents argued the legislation alters a centuries-old conception of marriage, and leaves those people opposed for religious reasons to be tarred as bigots.

“We’re not. We’re not,” said Rep. Kelby Woodard, a Republican from Belle Plaine. “These are people with deeply held beliefs, including myself.”

House Republican Leader Kurt Daudt acknowledged views on gay marriage are changing but said the bill’s sponsors stood to alienate thousands of Minnesotans who still believe in the male-female definition of marriage.

“Hearts and minds are changing on this,” Daudt said. “But Minnesotans are still divided.”

The two Democrats who voted no, Patti Fritz of Faribault and Mary Sawatzky of Willmar, represent largely rural districts where the gay marriage ban was backed by a majority of voters. But most of the Democrats from rural, more socially conservative areas ended up voting for the bill.

Outside the chamber, supporters and opponents of the bill stood shoulder to shoulder and chanted with equal vigor. Gay marriage backers dressed in orange T-Shirts and held signs that read, “I Support The Freedom to Marry.” Behind them, opponents held up bright pink signs that simply read, “Vote No.”

Among the demonstrators was Grace McBride, 27, a nurse from St. Paul. She said she and her partner felt compelled to be there to watch history unfold. She said she hopes to get married “as soon as I can” if the bill becomes law. The legislation would allow her to do so starting Aug. 1.

“I have thought about my wedding since I was a little girl,” she said.

On the other side of the divide, Galina Komar, a recent Ukrainian immigrant who lives in Bloomington, brought her 4-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son to the Capitol to express her religious concerns.

“I do believe in God, and I believe God already created the perfect way to have a family,” Komar said.

Eleven other states allow gay marriages — including Rhode Island and Delaware, which approved laws in the past week.

Iowa allows gay marriages because of a 2009 court ruling. Leaders in Illinois — the only Midwestern state other than Minnesota with a Democratic-led statehouse — say that state is close to having the votes to approve a law too.

More than two dozen House Democrats gave speeches for the bill, many sharing personal stories of gay friends and family members.

“There are kids being raised by grandparents, single parents, two moms or two dads,” said Rep. Laurie Halverson, a Democrat from a suburb south of St. Paul. “Some of those folks are my friends. And we talk about the same things as parents. We talk about large piles of laundry, and how much it hurts to step on a Lego. That’s what we do, because we’re all families.”

  • timmolter

    Marriage was created by God to be between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:21-24; Matthew 19:4-6). You can call it what you want but it’s not marriage unless its between a man and a woman. Man didn’t create it, and you can use the title but that still doesn’t make it a real Marriage.

    As a Christian I fear for anyone who will suffer eternally because of their decision to reject the only means of salvation—the Lord Jesus Christ who offers the only hope for escape from a degrading and destructive lifestyle.

    Invite Jesus Christ into your heart today:

    • Ron Mexico

      I fear for you and all the rest that are so full of hate and intolerance.

    • Walt Henry

      Why is it when radicals distort the religion of Islam Christians complain mainstream Muslims should shout them down? Yet when radicals distort the religion of Christ the Christians stay silent or shout Amen? (see Jerome’s distorted comments)

    • Elliot Dallavalle

      If inviting Jesus Christ into my heart makes me comparable to you Tim, then count me out. God gave me a brain and I prefer to use it.

  • J Mullins

    Tim, Starting August 1, you and I and anyone who publicly utters such sentiments can be prosecuted for the crime of “hate speech” if we say what you say here.

    The radical anti-Christian DFL have just passed legislation designed to shut down any church which embraces and practices God’s way.

    • Richard Olson

      Don’t worry Jerome you will still be able to make outstandingly false comments meant to scare people who only listen to Fox News and therefore don’t know any better. Your above comment being a prime example.

    • Elliot Dallavalle

      Jerome – Can’t agree with you there big fella. God created you and gay people. He didn’t exclude them. A church that practices God’s way, would not exclude his children. A church that doesn’t, excludes them. It is quite apparent which one you belong to.

  • BrendanJanssen

    Not only did God create marriage, but he also created homosexuality. God is the ultimate form of justice, so why would he create other people who should be treated any less equally than you or I?

    Also, the Bible was written by man and inspired by God. It is not to be taken literally, word for word. If we did this, slavery would be legal and much of our female population would be stoned to death (but not the males of course). Do not pick and chose what you will from the Bible to push across an agenda.

    One politician, yesterday, said something along the lines of ‘The only argument for voting no I have heard is orientated around “Because the Bible says so” and that is not something to base a law off of in a secular nation.’ We need more people like him.

  • Richard Olson

    When you cafeteria Christians make your scary predictions about the results of gay marriage I wish you would include a “use by date”, like on a milk carton or a box of cereal. That way the rest of us heathens will know when you were right or wrong and we can safely go outside without incurring god wrath like god punishing and killing all those people along the gulf coast with Hurricane Katrina because some gay people in Louisiana were fooling around in the woods, like that cafeteria Christian genius on the 700 club predicated.

    Here’s my gay marriage prediction which will be best if used by the day after the governor signs gay marriage into law. Jerome will say the leaves are falling off the trees because two gay people in Underwood got married. Camilla will say she has found secret irrefutable proof that Karl Marx was secretly married to Harpo Marx. Bill Schulz will demand police protection because a gay married couple keeps following him around the Wal-Mart parking lot trying to infiltrate his posse. And Holly will say that before gay marriage she never uttered a harsh word about anyone.

    And Pat (700) Robertson will still accept your donation whether you are gay or straight.

    • The Vikingman

      As happy as I am about the giant step forward the State of MN took today I can’t help but feel sad for those that continue to miss the point on this and think that it is a personal attack on their beliefs. I can find nowhere where it says YOU have to get married to a person of the same sex, that you have to agree with it, that your church has to allow it, or that you even have to attend a marriage ceremony between a homosexual couple. What this does do is give a segment of our population the same rights you and I have had for a very long time. As a people we have a long history of trying to deny segments of our population certain rights. Women, Minorities, Disabled individuals, non-property owning white men, etc. In each of these cases the laws of the land were eventually changed and our country is better for it. I am glad to say I am living in a time when these changes are happening.

      • Ron Mexico

        I can’t help but feel pity for all the hypocrites that speak of the “sanctity” of marriage. When over half of “traditional” marriages fail, you don’t have much ground to stand on. It is humorous to hear them babble on though and throw out bible verses about this and that.

        There is hope for you all though. I used to be a narrow-minded, brain washed bigot. Then I hit puberty and started thinking for myself. It didnt take me long to realize that the majority of what is taught in the church is pure nonsense.

  • Richard Olson

    Abraham married his sister Sarah, then Sarah invited Abraham to have sex with her maid Hagar. In the bible rapists must marry their victim. King David had 7 wives and his son King Solomon had 700 wives plus 300 concubines.
    So in the bible marriage is between one man and his sister or one man and the woman he rapes, or one man and hundreds of wives but it is not between one man and one man….because that would be immoral.

  • Mark Martenstone

    About time. You can’t ban gay marriage, marriage is gay.

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