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ST. PAUL, Minnesota, April 28, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Minnesota Republicans this week proposed an amendment to the state constitution that would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

The legislation has been fast-tracked and is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow at noon.

To move forward the amendment requires a simple majority in the House and Senate, both of which have been in Republican control since the 2010 elections. After passing both houses, it would be placed on the 2012 ballot.

While Democratic Governor Mark Dayton has stated his opposition to the measure, proposed constitutional amendments are not subject to the governor’s veto. 

Homosexual “marriage” is already illegal in the state of Minnesota, but proponents of the legislation believe that a constitutional amendment is necessary to protect the status quo.

“This issue constantly comes up during legislative sessions and it’s time for the people to decide,” said Senator Warren Limmer, the author of one of the bills, in a statement released Tuesday. “Allowing a small number of politicians, or activist judges in St. Paul to decide the definition of marriage would not be acceptable. We propose an early passage in the legislature this year, followed by a year discussion in our communities statewide in order to be prepared to vote in next year’s General Election.”

If approved by the legislature, the following question will be put to voters on the 2012 ballot: “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 will require a “yes” vote from a majority of voters. Failure to choose is considered equivalent to a “no.”

Monica Meyer, executive director of the homosexual advocacy group OutFront Minnesota called the legislation “completely counter to the direction public opinion is moving,” according to the Minnesota Star Tribune.

Proponents of the amendment, however, point to a poll conducted in January by the Minnesota Family Council and the National Organization for Marriage, which found that 76% of Minnesota voters believed that the people, rather than the legislature, should have the opportunity to decide on the definition of marriage, and that 56% believed that it should be a union between a man and a woman.

“This poll confirms what we’ve known all along.  Minnesotans believe the issue of marriage should be decided by the voters, not the state legislature,” said Chuck Darrell, Director of Communications for the Minnesota Family Council, in a statement released earlier this month.

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