Minnesota Rep. Steve Simon, a Democrat,
on Thursday fought back tears as the Minnesota House debated a
proposed gay marriage bill.
Two years earlier, as lawmakers debated
a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a heterosexual union
which was later rejected by voters, Simon asked ban supporters
whether, if sexuality is a gift from God, “what does that mean to
the moral force of your argument?”
“How many more gay people does God
have to create before we ask ourselves whether or not God actually
wants them around?” he asked to a round of applause.
On Thursday, before
colleagues approved the bill, Simon returned to that theme,
describing a rabbi asking his students what is the precise moment
when night ends and a new day starts.
“The moment when night ends and a new
day begins is the moment when you look into the face of a stranger
and see the face of your brother,” an emotional Simon said. “Until
that moment no matter what time it is, it's still night. But at that
moment, that's when the new day begins.”
“We should embrace” the embrace of
the gay community, Simon added.
“I think slowly as a society we're
going to the realization – some faster than others – those in the
GLBT community do not have some condition to be pitied or prayed
away. What they have is a God-given orientation, which should be
celebrated and welcomed.” (The video is embedded on this page.
our video library for more videos.)
The Senate is expected to debate the
bill on Monday.
gay marriage: A victory for Rep. Karen Clark.)