Minnesota Rep. Tim Kelly on Wednesday
announced a bill which seeks to recognize gay and lesbian couples
with civil unions.
Kelly, a Republican, announced the
proposal during a news conference at the Capitol.
“Government's role is to protect the
individual,” Kelly said, adding that his bill would do just that
for gay couples.
The bill's introduction comes after gay
marriage bills have cleared legislative committees in both the House
and Senate and await floor votes.
Two years ago, Kelly was one of four
Republicans who voted against placing a constitutional amendment on
the ballot defining marriage as a heterosexual union. Voters
rejected the amendment last November.
Democratic Rep. Karen Clark, chief
sponsor of the House marriage bill, criticized the effort as too
little too late.
“It's a little late to be coming with
something like this to deflect the momentum that's out there to
really make sure that it's marriage equality, not a second class
status that doesn't work,” Clark
told Minnesota Public Radio. “It just plain doesn't work.”
Democratic Senator Scott Dibble, who is
sponsoring the marriage bill in the Senate, said he was confident
lawmakers would approve marriage for gay couples this session.
“Minnesotans are ready for this,”