Approval by the House was the final step required to put the propped constitutional amendment on the November 2012 ballot. The state Senate approved the bill on May 11.
Minnesota state law already prohibits same-sex unions, but backers of the amendment are hoping votes will approve the amendment to prevent the law from being overturned by judges or future Legislatures.
The ballot question would read, “Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?”
Passage in the GOP-controlled House and Senate was was not unexpected — Republicans have tried, unsuccessfully, to get the issue on the ballot for years, and for the first time in eight years, they control both chambers.
Gov. Mark Dayton (D), strongly opposes the measure, but is powerless to stop it.
In Minnesota, the only way to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot is to have both chambers approve it by simple majorities. Such a bill is not subject to a veto or any other action by the governor.
Rea Carey, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, issued this statement :
“The Minnesota House has turned its back on an opportunity to recognize and affirm our common humanity by passing this unnecessary and unfair amendment. This is deeply disappointing and hurtful to thousands of Minnesota same-sex couples and their families who simply want to be able to care for each other and share and celebrate their commitment publicly and legally as others already do. To be able to do so is a lifelong dream for many loving, committed couples.
“We urge the fair-minded people of Minnesota to reject this painful attack on their neighbors, co-workers, friends and family members.”
The legislature’s action this session stands in contrast to recent public opinion polling.
Just one week ago, a Star Tribune poll revealed that a majority of Minnesotans oppose amending the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.
Fifty-five percent of respondents said they oppose adding such an amendment while 39 percent favor a constitutional ban.