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State Lawmaker To Again Seek Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage

Roseville's John Marty contends: "I don't think human rights should be put up to the vote of people."

Minnesota's marriage debate, which took center stage during this past fall's state elections, now appears headed for an airing at the state Capitol.

State Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, told Patch he plans to introduce a bill within the next two weeks that would lift Minnesota's ban on same-sex marriage. (To see an earlier Patch story on this topic, click on this link.)

"I don't think anyone's rights should be subject to public opinion," Marty said. He was referring to the failed attempt by conservatives and traditionalists this past fall to enact a state Constitutional amendment that would have legally defined marriage as only being between one man and woman. (Click on to this Patch report for background.)

"Why is government telling the churches who they can marry or who they can't?," asked Marty, who has previously introduced legislation to legalize same-sex marital unions.

The veteran lawmaker said he wants to give churches the freedom to perform same-sex marriage. But Marty his leglslation will also respect the rights of churches not perform same-sex marriages.

"I want to be respectful in this conversation with the Catholic Church," whose doctrine opposes same-sex marriage, Marty said.

Nevertheless, Marty added the Catholic Church shouldn't impose its views on other people or churches. That's like telling someone else "not to eat that donut because it offends my diet," he said.

Some state lawmakers, like , have said they want to focus on budget issues in 2013 and deal with same-sex marriage in the 2014 sesssion.

While the state budget should be the Legislature's top priority for 2013, the gay marriage issue shouldn't be delayed, Marty said.

"This something that shouldn't have to wait," Marty said. He added the issue need not be a big distraction, that the Senate's Judiciary Committee should hold a hearing on the matter, vote it up or down and, if it passes, bring it to vote of the full Senate.

"This should not be a big time-consuming thing," Marty contended.

Tony Nickelsen January 10, 2013 at 07:08 PM
I agree with Sen. Goodwin, now is not the time to discuss social issues right after such an emotional vote this past election on the Marriage Act. Balancing the state budget needs to remain our legislatures top priority going into the 13' legislative session.
JusticeMatters January 12, 2013 at 03:04 PM
Leave it to the DFL to ignore the true needs of Minnesota residents and instead take up their own agenda...yet again.
yomammy January 12, 2013 at 03:21 PM
yep---wait for "do it for the children" to get every possible pet project thru....
Dan Johnson March 19, 2013 at 04:41 PM
Marriage it is a fundamental right of the individual. The only eligibility requirement for fundamental rights is being human. Reasonable restrictions may be made only when a compelling and legitimate governmental interest can withstand judicial scrutiny. Most can agree with the courts that reasonable restrictions include age, ability to demonstrate informed consent, and not being closely related or currently married. Gender alone is not a restriction. While churches may place any restrictions they choose on their own ceremonies, the government can only restrict fundamental rights when a compelling and legitimate justification can be demonstrated. Procreation ability has never been a requirement for marriage, and therefore fails as a legitimate qualification. Yet even that irrational excuse for discrimination ignores the fact that gay people can and do reproduce, and are raising children either biologically related or adopted. Denial of equal treatment under the law provides nothing to opposite sex couple families. It only harms same sex couple families needlessly. Gay couples are seeking to be treated equally under the laws currently in effect, in the remaining states that do not yet recognize their marriages, and by the federal government. Neither tradition nor gender provides a legitimate governmental interest sufficient for denial of this fundamental right.

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