Minnesota legislature approves same-sex ‘marriage;’ governor to sign bill
ST. PAUL, MN, May 14, 2013 (LifeSiteNews) – Tuesday night, at a ceremony on the steps of the state capitol, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton is expected to sign a bill redefining marriage in the state to include homosexual couples. The State Senate approved the bill Monday by a 37-30 vote. The State House voted on the measure last week, passing it 75-59.
Governor Dayton, a Democrat, has called the legislation “one of those society-changing breakthrough moments.”
When the law is signed, Minnesota will be the 12th U.S. state to legalize same-sex “marriage,” and the third in just ten days. Delaware and Rhode Island both passed gay “marriage” earlier this month. Homosexual couples will be able to “marry” in Minnesota starting August 1.
Thousands of demonstrators from both sides of the marriage debate flooded the capitol Monday for the Senate debate, which lasted four hours. Supporters of same-sex “marriage” appealed to fairness, love, and even religion in their attempt to persuade their colleagues to vote for the bill.
“Members, God made gays,” said Sen. Ron Latz, a Democrat. “And God made gays capable of loving other people. So who are we to quarrel with God's intentions?”
But Republican Sen. Dan Hall also appealed to religion, saying that while he has been told he is on the wrong side of history, “the truth is I'm more concerned about being on the right side of eternity.”
The bill’s opponents argued that the legislation does not provide strong enough protections for those who oppose homosexuality on religious grounds, opening up vendors who serve the wedding industry to legal action and possible prosecution for refusing to participate in gay ceremonies.
“We must respect religious freedom at the same time as we advance rights,” said Sen. Carla Nelson, a Republican. “This bill does not do that.”
“We’re nullifying every reference to a faith when it comes to marriage,” said Sen. Warren Limmer. He supported adding a religious-protection amendment to the bill, but that amendment was defeated.
Only one Republican crossed party lines to vote for the bill. Three Democrats from rural districts voted against it.
It is unclear what result the vote will have on the next election cycle. Forty-seven percent of Minnesota voters voted in favor of a constitutional ban on same-sex “marriage” in 2012, and spring 2013 Star Tribune poll showed a majority of Minnesotans still don't support making same-sex “marriage” legal.