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Minnesota legislature may vote on marriage equality in early 2013

Marriage equality

By Jacob Combs

Marriage equality advocates in Minnesota plan to introduce legislation in 2013 that would bring marriage equality to the state, the Elk River, Minnesota-based Star News reported yesterday.  “This kind of closes the loop of the election,” said Rep. Alice Hausman, the measure’s main sponsor in the House, who hopes to present Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat and a supporter of equal marriage rights, with a bill before the budget forecast that will be released in February.

Hausman’s counterpart in the state Senate, John Marty, told the Star News that “the time has come” for marriage equality in the state, pointing to the failure of an anti-equal marriage constitutional amendment in November as a sign of an emerging consensus in the state.  Both Hausman and Marty believe the legislation can make its way quickly through the state legislature, the Star News notes:

“Hausman and Marty argue passage of same-sex marriage legislation needn’t be time consuming nor distract from the mission of setting the state budget.

“Marty speaks of a two-hour debate in the Senate Judiciary Committee and an up or down vote.

“Hausman is a bit more cautious, saying the number of committees a same-sex marriage bill might need to clear in the House depends on its legal implications and the desire of House leadership.

“But she also looks to passing a bill before the final state budget numbers come out in the forecast.”

But even though Democrats control both houses of the Minnesota legislature and the governorship, Republicans in the state (and even some Democratic party leaders) are skeptical that this is the time for equal marriage legislation.  House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt argued that a move by Democrats to pass marriage equality would be hypocritical, given their position in the election that Minnesota “shouldn’t be focused on divisive social issues.”

Bringing marriage equality to Minnesota just months after the defeat of the state’s constitutional amendment would be a remarkable achievement, and it may indeed be too soon for such a victory to be feasible.  Nevertheless, it’s important to see legislators expressing a desire to show leadership and continue a conversation on the issue rather than simply let it continue to percolate in the background.

2 Comments

  • 1. Sean  |  December 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    "Divisive social issue" be damned. Unlike abortion, this is about people's daily livelihoods and affects a sizable population in the state. Justice delayed is justice denied!

  • 2. MNBob  |  December 22, 2012 at 12:00 am

    C'mon Minnesota, do this before Democrats lose control of the legislature

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