Minnesota state Representative Steve Simon on Monday was in the clear minority during a House committee debate on gay marriage when he told lawmakers that being gay is a gift from God.

The Civil Law Committee approved along party lines a resolution that seeks to place a gay marriage ban in the state's constitution. A Senate companion measure cleared its first hurdle in that chamber on Friday.

Minnesota state law already bans gay and lesbian couples from marrying but supporters argue that the law remains vulnerable to a legal challenge.

“We have to be careful about trying to enshrine our beliefs, however religiously valid you may believe them to be, in the Minnesota Constitution,” Simon, a Democrat, told lawmakers. “What I'm hearing today and what I heard on Friday was largely a religious justification for change in the Minnesota Constitution. I don't think that's right. I don't think that's fair.”

“I want to take a page from what I heard last Friday in the Senate testimony. There was a member of the clergy … and he said, 'You know what? Sexuality and sexual orientation are a gift from God.' And I think that's true. I think the scientific evidence shows more and more every day that sexuality and sexual orientation are innate and something people are born with.”

“If that's true,” Simon told ban supporters, “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 added to a round of applause. (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)