News (USA)

Minnesota advances bill to amend state constitution to ban gay marriage

Minnesota advances bill to amend state constitution to ban gay marriage

A Minnesota state Senate panel on Friday advanced a bill that would seek voter approval to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

Hundreds of Minnesotans jammed a Capitol hearing room to argue for and against a constitutional amendment, which would define marriage as between one man and one woman.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports:

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the bill 8-4, with all Republicans in favor and all Democrats opposed.

Passage by the full Senate and the House appears likely with solid Republican majorities in both chambers, meaning voters in 2012 would be asked to enshrine in Minnesota’s Constitution a prohibition on same-sex marriage that already exists in state law.

Sen. Barb Goodwin (D-Columbia Heights), said, “I will never in this Legislature, will never vote — even if it means I’m voted out — to put language of discrimination in the constitution.”

Goodwin suggested that, if supporters wanted to preserve the “sanctity” of marriage, the bill should also support a ban on divorce in heterosexual marriages. She proposed tweaking the text of the bill to add the words “for life” — limiting marriage to one per person per lifetime.

Her effort failed, which she said illustrated that the bill “isn’t based on an issue of how sacred marriage is — it’s an issue of discrimination.”

The bill now heads to the Senate Rules Committee.

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