Minnesota Representative Karen Clark,
one of two openly gay lawmakers serving in the Minnesota House, on
Saturday pleaded with lawmakers considering a gay marriage ban to let
her marry in Minnesota.
After roughly five hours of often
emotional debate, House
members voted 70 to 62 in favor of Republican Representative Steve
Gottwalt's amendment, which seeks to define marriage as a
heterosexual union in the Minnesota Constitution, sending it to
voters for their approval during next year's general election.
Minnesota currently bans such unions by law, but supporters say it
remains vulnerable to legal challenges without the amendment.
Four Republicans – Tim Kelly, John
Kriesel, Rich Murray and Steve Smith – joined all but two Democrats
– Denise Dittrich and Lyle Koenen – in voting against the
Clark spoke of her 22-year relationship
with her partner Jacqueline, and implored House members to allow them
to marry in her home state.
“Until this last election, I though
my partner and I might be able to be one of the early couples to
enjoy the rights of marriage by a law getting passed and signed in
Minnesota. But that possibility has changed, at least for now,”
“And since my dad has become so ill,
I have for the first time thought of taking a trip to Iowa, where gay
marriage is legal. So that he could still be part of a celebration
for me and my partner. Maybe we will do it on his 95th
birthday in June,” Clark said, referring to her partner's father.
“But I beg you colleagues, please
don't make me go off to Iowa. I was raised in Minnesota. I'm a
child of Minnesota,” she added.