ST. PAUL, Minnesota, May 3, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A bill that would give Minnesota residents the opportunity to vote on whether or not to add an amendment to the state Constitution defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman moved forward in the Minnesota legislature this week.
The measure passed the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee last Friday after 3 ½ hours of debate by a vote of 8-4. It has now been referred to the Rules Committee.
In the House, it was approved in a 10-7 vote by the Civil Law Committee this past Monday and will now go before the House Ways and Means Committee. Both the House and Senate votes were cast along party lines.
Despite a push by the National Organization for Marriage for traditional marriage supporters to attend the Senate hearing, the turnout consisted mainly of homosexual activists, according to a Pioneer Daily report.
According to the report, over 150 people crowded into the overflow room to watch the hearing on television, many carrying pro-homosexual signs, and loudly hissing and booing at testimony in support of the bill.
Support for the bill appears strong in the GOP-controlled legislature however, although Republican Representative John Kriesel made headlines this week for his outspoken opposition.
“People fight to find happiness,” he told the Minnesota Star Tribune. “You find someone you love and now other people are saying because I don’t consider that normal, you can’t do it?” Kriesel added that he is “working hard” to convince his Republican colleagues to vote against the measure.
Republican Senator Warren Limmer, the chief author of the bill, has garnered support for the bill by emphasizing the need to allow Minnesotans to decide what the state’s definition of marriage should be, rather than politicians or judges.
As a proposed Constitutional amendment, the bill would bypass the signature of Democratic Governor Mark Dayton if it is approved by the legislature, and would appear on the 2012 ballot for final approval by voters.
A January poll conducted by the Minnesota Family Council and the National Organization for Marriage found that the majority of voters in Minnesota favor a traditional definition of marriage.