Lawmakers in Minnesota's House are
considering several legislative bills on the subject of gay unions,
Politics in Minnesota reported.
Three proposals would limit marriage to
a heterosexual union by amending Minnesota's Constitution. Those
bills have yet to receive a hearing in this session.
But on Monday, three pro-gay bills
introduced last March were aired out in a House committee.
One measure, sponsored by
Representative Joe Mullery, DFL- Minneapolis, would recognize gay and
lesbian couples with civil unions. And Golden Valley Representative
Ryan Winkler's bill seeks to recognize legal marriages performed
outside the state.
A third bill proposes legalizing gay
Representative Phyllis Kahn, a
Minneapolis Democrat and sponsor of the measure, testified on behalf
of her bill.
“I just want to personally state that
I think allowing other people to get married poses absolutely no
threat to my marriage,” Kahn told the committee. “The
legislative session is probably a little more damaging.”
Proponents of the legislation called
the hearing “historic.”
“Legislators have seen that there is
strong support for extending legal recognition to same-sex couples
and their families by ending discrimination in marriage,” Amy
Johnson, executive director of gay rights group OutFront
Minnesota, said in a statement. “Minnesotans know that
marriage equality next door in Canada and now Iowa is not a threat to
them or their families. In fact, polls show that the majority of
Americans support creation of the sorts of legal frameworks and
protections for same-sex couples.”
“Today's informational hearing is a
significant step towards ending this form of discrimination,” she
A majority of Minnesotans (61%) support
giving gay couples “the same legal and economic rights and
responsibilities as married couples,” according
to a 2009 state fair opinion poll.
Gay marriage opponents argued that
recognizing the unions of gay couples hurts children.
“Make no mistake, marriage as a civil
institution, as a legal institution, is grounded not merely in
religion, but in the biological reality that sex makes children and
children need a mom and a dad,” Teresa Collett, a law professor at
the University of St. Thomas, testified.
Barb Davis, an African-American who is
running for the Republican nomination in Minnesota's 5th
Congressional District, agreed, saying that gay sex is physically
dangerous and that children have a right to a mother and a father.
“Rosa Parks didn't move to the front
of the bus to support sodomy,” she said.
The committee took no action on any of
the bills and has not scheduled any additional hearings.