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Minn. state House committee approves same-sex marriage bill

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A Minnesota House committee moments ago voted to advance a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage.

The House Civil Law Committee approved the measure on a 10-7 party-line vote, with all Democrats in favor and all Republicans opposed.

The vote comes just hours after the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a Senate version of the bill, advancing it to the full Senate.

The Democratic-led Legislature is pressing ahead with the marriage bill after voters defeated a constitutional amendment last November that would have fortified an existing ban on same-sex marriage.

The bill’s sponsor in the House is openly gay lawmaker Rep. Karen Clark, who said the referendum was an affirmation that Minnesotans see gay couples as equal members of society and should be afforded rights others have.

“In Minnesota, we don’t turn our backs on family,” said Clark.

Several lawmakers, including Rep. Mary Liz Holberg, questioned whether the bill gives enough protection to people who may object to same-sex marriage. The bill stipulates that churches would not be required to perform same-sex marriages, but the Lakeville Republican asked about caterers, wedding photographers or florists who don’t want to provide their services to gay couples.

University of Minnesota Law Professor Dale Carpenter said current state law already prohibits businesses from discriminating against customers based on sexual orientation. The state recognizing same-sex marriages wouldn’t change that, he said.

Richard Painter, another university law professor who worked in former President George W. Bush’s administration, urged the Legislature to extend the right to marry to all Minnesotans.

“Republicans understand that some things are none of the government’s business, and one of them is who you marry,” Painter said.

Sen. Branden Petersen, of Anoka, is the only current Republican lawmaker so far who has publicly supported the bill.

Both the House and Senate chairmen said the next stop after their committees would be the House and Senate floors. Final legislative action in both chambers could still be months away as lawmakers deal with the state budget first.

The bills need 68 votes in the House and 34 votes in the Senate.

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton said he would sign the bill if the Legislature sends it to him. Same-sex weddings could begin as early as August.

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14 more reader comments:

  1. pretty close vote however, the dicsussions in both house and senate have only just begun

    Posted on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 5:51pm
  2. I get so tired of my state and their bs politics, tell us one thing and them debate it to death.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 5:53pm
  3. Are you paying attention @Texas … Doubt it.. but hopefully optimistic just the same…

    Posted on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 5:53pm
  4. Hopefully the house won’t vote it against it. I’m afraid there are Dems that would vote against it.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 5:58pm
  5. Well this move may not be wise.. Why go through this.. When it may be struck down fully by june? =[ Supreme courts to rule on gay marriage….. I want to be positive but it just doesnt look good.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 6:10pm
  6. Colorado must follow!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 6:11pm
  7. Now if only Louisiana can be this progressive. Best of luck to those in Minnesota.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 6:11pm
  8. Every little bit helps give the Supreme Court the courage to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, in June.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 6:14pm
  9. Take that Mike Frey! You damn tool!

    Posted on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 6:48pm
  10. Nicely Done Colin Finally You Got Your Wish

    Posted on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 6:56pm
  11. Changes can only occur when you “GET INVOLVED”. Don’t complain if you are not “PROACTIVE IN MAKING CHANGE HAPPEN”
    Racial & Cultural Minorities are being left behind in the LGBT Movement. Changes need to occur to make it equal.
    Please don’t preach Equality outside of the home when there is little to no equality inside the home. Changes need to occur in the LGBT Movement.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 7:50pm
  12. Minnesota? Really? How freeking cool is that?

    Posted on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 11:26pm
  13. So the nazi queen Bachmann how mad is she over this ?

    Posted on Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 11:07am
  14. Look, the Minnesota House is better than the Illinois House!

    Posted on Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 11:19am