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Minnesota marriage equality bill likely to clear House, Senate committees

Marriage equality

Jim Mone
Opponents of marriage equality protest in the rotunda of the Minnesota capital on March 7, 2013.

By Jacob Combs

A proposed bill to bring marriage equality to Minnesota is poised to pass its first vote in a House committee, the AP reported yesterday, as a throng of protestors opposing the bill swarmed the capitol building’s rotunda.

Of the 17 members on the House Civil Law Committee, nine told the AP that they would support the bill, enough to move it to the full House.

The Civil Law Committee will consider the proposed legislation on Tuesday, the same day that the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its first vote on the measure.  Four of the Senate committee’s eight members told the AP they would vote to advance the bill; a fifth, Sen. Barb Goodwin, supports marriage equality but, according to the AP, is “uncomfortable moving so quickly to legalize it in Minnesota.” Sen. Scott Dibble, the bill’s chief sponsor, said he is optimistic he can persuade Goodwin towards a yes vote in committee.

According to Dibble, full votes on the House and Senate floors regarding the marriage equality bill will likely wait a few weeks as supporters and LGBT advocates wrangle the votes needed to pass the legislation: 68 in the House and 34 in the Senate.  Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, supports marriage equality and has said that he will sign the bill into law.

As the AP piece demonstrates, support for the bill in the Minnesota legislature falls along similar demographic lines to support in the state at large.  A Star Tribune Minnesota Poll released earlier this week found that a majority of Minnesotans think the state’s marriage equality ban should remain on the books.  Support for ending the ban was highest amongst Democrats and in the urban Twin Cities area of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Similarly, of the 13 confirmed yes votes the AP reported, all are Democrats.  Only one Republican (of 89 total) has announced his support for the measure: Sen. Branden Petersen, who is a co-sponsor on the legislation.  Geographically, all but one of the nine confirmed yes votes on the House Civil Law Committees come from districts in the Twin Cities area.

Brian Brown, the president of the National Organization for Marriage, told the AP that he believes marriage equality opponents will have their best chance of defeating the bill in the full House vote.  He expects support to be higher in the state Senate.

1 Comment

  • 1. Bob  |  March 9, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    Minnesota has to pass marriage equality, and fast before the bigots get a chance to spread more lies.

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