By Danielle Killey
A Minnesota Senate committee voted 5-3 today to move forward with a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota.
“This is about family,” bill author Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, said. “We are not redefining anything.”
The Judiciary Committee sent the bill to the full Senate, though Democratic leadership has said setting the state budget will come before addressing policy issues such as gay marriage.
Opponents said lawmakers should not be dealing with such issues.
“We want to treat everyone with love and respect,” Sen. Dan Hall, R-Burnsville, said. “We can do that without redefining marriage.”
A state House committee is expected to vote on a similar proposal tonight after beginning to hear public testimony earlier today.
Some supporters said the vote last fall defeating a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage was a sign that Minnesotans want to change state law and legalize it. Gay marriage opponents said that vote could have meant Minnesotans did not want the provision in the Constitution but might still oppose same-sex marriage.
The bill exempts religious organizations from performing same-sex marriage ceremonies if they have objections, but some said that protection is not enough.