Constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage surfaces at Capitol
A group of House and Senate Republican lawmakers announced Tuesday they are introducing a constitutional amendment that would prohibit same-sex marriage. If passed, the measure would go to the voters in November 2012.
One of the bill sponsors, Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, said they want Minnesotans to have plenty of time to consider the amendment, which would define marriage as between a man and a woman.
"Allowing a number of politicians or heaven forbid activists judges to define marriage to us would simply not be acceptable," Limmer said.
Democrats blasted Republicans for pushing a divisive social issue at a time when they say the GOP's focus needs to be on solving the state's $5 billion budget deficit by the May 23 deadline.
"This does nothing to set our economy on the right track and in fact.there is evidence that shows that those places that do not embrace diversity, that don't embrace all people and the kinds of contributions they make, don't do as well economically," said Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis.
Republicans said they expect there will be legislative hearings this week on the proposal. The legislature has a self-imposed deadline of Friday to pass policy-related bills through key committees. DFL Gov. Mark Dayton on Tuesday reiterated his oppose to a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage. He also added that the state law already defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
"Denying future generations from making their own reasoned decisions about what they think is appropriate is a big mistake," Dayton said. But in the end the governor has no say on what happens with the bill. Proposed constitutional amendments do not need the governor's signature before heading to the voters.