A Minnesota Senate panel on Friday
advanced to the floor a resolution that aims to ban gay marriage in
The 11-member Senate Rules and
Administration Committee approved Republican Senator Warren Limmer's
amendment on a voice vote.
If approved, voters would be asked in
2012 to decide on the definition of marriage. Minnesota law already
bans gay and lesbian couples from marrying, but supporters say the
law remains vulnerable to legal challenges without the amendment.
Senator Linda Berglin, a Democrat from
Minneapolis, asked the committee to delay the measure for a year to
allow time for more pressing matters in the legislative session's
final 2 weeks.
“We don't need to use the little time
we have left where we're supposed to be talking about resolving a
budget, we're supposed to be talking about jobs, we're supposed to be
talking about the economy of our state,” Berglin said. “None of
those things relate to this.”
When Richard Cohen, a Democrat from St.
Paul, asked Limmer whether it would be wiser to offer an amendment as
a response to a legal challenge, Limmer said he wanted to cut off any
imminent legal challenges.
“I believe and I believe that
proponent of the bill believe that this is an issue that is so broad
and of an intimate nature that it really should not be in the hands
of a court. It should be in the hands of the people of Minnesota,”
A motion to table the amendment failed
along a 6-5 party-line vote.
A companion version of the measure
cleared a House committee earlier this week. Representative
Steve Simon told lawmakers at the hearing that being gay was a gift
from God, earning him nationwide attention.
Video from a young woman's testimony at
last week's Senate hearing has also gone viral on YouTube.com.
Republican Madeline Koch, 24, told
lawmakers that acceptance of gay people – and their relationships –
is “something Minnesota's next generation of leaders has already
Governor Mark Dayton has pledged his support for allowing gay couples
to marry, but Republicans who won control of both chambers of the
Legislature on November 2 don't need his OK to place the question on