Minnesota Republicans introduce gay marriage ban amendment

Wed. April 27, 2011 2:31 PM by Carlos Santoscoy

St. Paul, MN - Twelve Minnesota state Senate Republicans on Tuesday introduced a bill that seeks to constitutionally ban gay marriage in the state, St. Paul-Minneapolis ABC affiliate KSTP reported.

If approved, voters would be asked in 2012 to decide on the definition of marriage. Minnesota state law already outlaws gay and lesbian couples from marrying.

The bill's primary sponsor, Senator Warren Limmer, insisted the new push was not about boosting voter turnout for the GOP in 2012. "Quite honestly, it could cut both ways," he told reporters. "We believe we owe the public the opportunity to be engaged."

Senator David Hann agreed: "People believe it's important and we think that it's an appropriate time for us now to bring this discussion to the public, which some of us have wanted to do for a number of years."

Limmer said his bill would be fast-tracked and would receive a Senate hearing this week.

Republicans won control of both chambers of the Legislature on November 2, dashing the hopes of gay marriage supporters who believed the state was poised to become the sixth state in the nation to legalize the institution.

While Democratic Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has pledged his support for gay marriage, his OK isn't needed to place the question on the ballot.

In January, the Christian conservative group Minnesota Family Council pledged to spend $4.71 million over the next two years to see the measure adopted.

Although the move was expected, Democrats blasted the GOP for ignoring the state's fiscal problems.

"It's disturbing that Republicans want to use one of the last weeks of the legislative session to marginalize one group of people and divide our state," Senator Scott Dibble said. "We are facing a $5 billion budget shortfall, yet Republicans believe the biggest threat to our state's welfare is who is allowed to be married."

"For same-sex couples, marriage is about economics; it's about allowing families to take responsibility for each other and support their loved ones, creating strong households throughout our state. For this reason, there is significant evidence that the states that do the best economically are the ones that embrace diversity, not shut it out."

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