Twelve Minnesota state Senate
Republicans on Tuesday introduced a bill that seeks to
constitutionally ban gay marriage in the state, St. Paul-Minneapolis
ABC affiliate KSTP reported.
If approved, voters would be asked in
2012 to decide on the definition of marriage. Minnesota state law
already outlaws gay and lesbian couples from marrying.
The bill's primary sponsor, Senator
Warren Limmer, insisted the new push was not about boosting voter
turnout for the GOP in 2012. “Quite honestly, it could cut both
ways,” he told reporters. “We believe we owe the public the
opportunity to be engaged.”
Senator David Hann agreed: “People
believe it's important and we think that it's an appropriate time for
us now to bring this discussion to the public, which some of us have
wanted to do for a number of years.”
Limmer said his bill would be
fast-tracked and would receive a Senate hearing this week.
Republicans won control of both
chambers of the Legislature on November 2, dashing the hopes of gay
marriage supporters who believed the state was poised to become the
sixth state in the nation to legalize the institution.
Democratic Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has pledged his support for
gay marriage, his OK isn't needed to place the question on the
In January, the
Christian conservative group Minnesota Family Council pledged to
spend $4.71 million over the next two years to see the measure
Although the move was expected,
Democrats blasted the GOP for ignoring the state's fiscal problems.
“It's disturbing that Republicans
want to use one of the last weeks of the legislative session to
marginalize one group of people and divide our state,” Senator
Scott Dibble said. “We are facing a $5 billion budget shortfall,
yet Republicans believe the biggest threat to our state's welfare is
who is allowed to be married.”
“For same-sex couples, marriage is
about economics; it's about allowing families to take responsibility
for each other and support their loved ones, creating strong
households throughout our state. For this reason, there is
significant evidence that the states that do the best economically
are the ones that embrace diversity, not shut it out.”