A Minnesota Senate panel on Tuesday
approved a bill which seeks to make Minnesota the 10th
state to legalize gay marriage.
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved
the measure with a 5-3 vote.
A House committee is also holding
hearings on the bill and is expected to vote on it later today.
State Rep. Karen Clark, an openly gay
Democrat, told members of the House Civil Law Committee that
approving the measure is the right thing to do.
“No Minnesotan should be told it is
illegal to marry the person they love, and that includes me, and many
people that you all know and love,” said Clark, a co-sponsor of the
The issue of marriage equality has
returned to the Minnesota Capitol four months after voters in the
state became the first to reject an amendment which sought to define
marriage as a heterosexual union.
Opponents testifying at the hearing
argued that supporters were confusing opposition to the amendment
with support for marriage equality.
“We were told that if the amendment
was defeated our marriage laws wouldn't change, and same-sex marriage
would remain illegal,” Pastor Gus Booth told lawmakers. “We now
know that we were sold a false bill of goods. In fact it didn't take
more than a month before the mask was pulled off and we learned that
the real objective was to defeat the amendment and then to force gay
marriage on all Minnesotans. In northern Minnesota, we don't
appreciate this kind of bait and switch tactic.”
A former Republican state
representative testified that she regretted her vote to put the issue
on the ballot.
“Voting no today this session might
seem politically expedient,” an emotional Lynne Osterman said.
“But I can tell you from experience that you will have to live
knowing that a no vote is not fair, it's not respectful and it's not
equal.” (The video is embedded on this page. Visit
our video library for more videos.)
The AP reported that the bill enjoys
the support of 9 lawmakers in the 17-member House Civil Law
Committee, making its passage highly likely.