Peter J. Smith


Minnesota lawmakers approve marriage amendment for 2012 ballot

Peter J. Smith

ST. PAUL, Minnesota, May 23, 2011 ( – Minnesota House lawmakers gave their approval on Saturday to placing a proposed constitutional amendment that would define marriage as the union of a man and a woman on the 2012 ballot.

The Minnesota Post reported the House voted 70-62 to approve the amendment after five hours of debate at 12:30 a.m. on Saturday. Just two Democrats joined the Republican majority in supporting the measure, while four Republicans joined Democrats in opposing it.

The measure approved by the legislature would put the following question 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?”

In order to pass, a majority of voters will have to vote “yes.”

For both pro-family advocates and gay activists, the battle in Minnesota is a high stakes game: a win for the amendment would bolster the argument of defenders of traditional marriage that voters will defend true marriage given the opportunity at the ballot box; a defeat for the amendment would fit into the narrative of gay activists, who say recent Gallup polls and cultural trends show their side is gaining political momentum and acceptance.

“We are confident that voters in Minnesota will vote to adopt the marriage amendment preserving traditional marriage against judicial and legislative activism, just as voters in 30 other states have done. We look forward to being part of the campaign,” said Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM).

NOM is expected to play a major role in the battle over the marriage amendment. Brown pointed out that even political bastions of social liberalism, such as Maine, New York, and New Jersey rejected same-sex “marriage” in 2009, and that gay activists also could not succeed in getting Maryland or Rhode Island to enact same-sex “marriage” this year.

“We will have a thorough, respectful, discussion with the voters of Minnesota on all the reasons why the definition of marriage should be preserved as the union of a man and a woman,” continued Brown, “and to explain the risks to Minnesotans if they allow an activist judge or liberal legislators to redefine marriage in the future without public approval.”

The Minnesota Family Council applauded passage of the amendment, and said they are gearing up for the 17-month campaign to get voters to say “yes.”

“We thank the House and Senate for allowing the people of Minnesota to vote on the issue of marriage - just like voters have done in 31 other states,” said Tom Prichard, President of Minnesota Family Council.

“The institution of marriage predates government and has served as the foundation of society for thousands of years.  If marriage is to be redefined, it should only be society, speaking through the electorate who makes this decision, not judges or legislators,” he added.

Although same-sex “marriage” is already illegal under Minnesota statutes, proponents of the constitutional amendment believe that it is necessary to prevent either the judiciary or the legislature from changing the definition of marriage.

Although Democrat Gov. Mark Dayton opposes the ballot measure, he has no authority to block the amendment from going onto the ballot.

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