Marriage Equality Bill In The Works In Minnesota With Republican Sponsor
A state senator will propose legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota very soon, according to local media. This announcement may come as little surprise after pro-marriage equality sentiment prevailed in Minnesota’s November election, when voters rejected constitutional Amendment 1, which would have reinforced the preexisting ban on same-sex marriage.
The current bill follows constituent and officials’ consistent public support of marriage equality. On Feb. 6 Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton expressed his support for marriage equality in his State of the State address.
“I believe that every Minnesotan should have the freedom to marry legally the person she or he loves, whether of the same or other sex," the governor said.
Sen. Scott Dibble (D) plans to sponsor the bill, and this week Sen. Branden Petersen (R) announced he will be a co-sponsor. Peterson’s support comes as a shock to many, as he helped put Amendment 1 on the November ballot and is Minnesota’s first Republican lawmaker to publicly endorse marriage equality.
“As a strong proponent of limited government, conservative principles and individual liberty," Petersen told Campus Progress in an interview, "I'm proud to support legislation that would extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples in the state of Minnesota.”
Peterson has made two provisions to the bill, making sure religious leaders may opt out of officiating same-sex wedding, present in most marriage equality bills, and to ensure that in the case of a divorce children in same-sex marriages have the same financial securities. Dibble reportedly supports Peterson’s provisions and is enthusiastic about the possible bipartisan support that may come from having a Republican co-sponsor.
“As a state, we've been discussing this issue for many years, and personally, I have taken conversations about the importance of marriage and what it means to Minnesotans very seriously," said Petersen, who's father-in-law has reportedly been in a same-sex relationship for 20 years. “I strongly believe that true freedom means freedom for everyone, and that continuing to exclude certain people from marriage simply because of who they are is not in the best interest of the future of Minnesota.”
Anya Callahan is a reporter for Campus Progress. Follow her on Twitter @LezAnya.