The Minnesota House of Representatives passed the Marriage Equality Act last week by a vote of 75 to 59 with bipartisan support.
With House lawmakers already having passed a comprehensive budget and awaiting our conference committees to iron out a final package, it was the right time to bring this bill up for a vote.
I am proud to say I voted in support of this historic bill that gives same-sex couples the freedom to marry the person they love. I’m also proud of legislators on both sides of the issue who participated in a respectful debate.
Same-sex marriage is an issue Minnesotans have weighed for many years, which was reflected in numerous speeches on the House floor. With last November’s constitutional amendment, it’s been a big focus of conversations among faith communities, students, businesses, and Minnesotans from all walks of life over the past two years.
In 2012, nearly 58 percent of voters in our District voted against that constitutional amendment. In 2004, when asked if I would vote for a bill that would allow all Minnesotans to marry the person they love, I said I would.
Treating someone differently based on their sexual orientation does not square with Minnesota values. Thankfully, the bill passed by the House makes sure same-sex couples in our state are treated equally under the law. It’s a huge victory for civil rights and provides same-sex couples with the same protections and benefits enjoyed by me and my wife.
It’s also important to note that with our comprehensive Human Rights Act, the Marriage Equality Act includes the strongest religious protections of any other state that has legalized same-sex marriage. Under the bill, religious organizations are not required to perform marriages they do not support. Those kinds of protections make sure we respect the deeply held beliefs of people who oppose same-sex marriage.
With the Senate expected to vote on the same-sex marriage bill this Monday and Governor Mark Dayton signaling his intent to sign the legislation into law, Minnesota will soon become the 12th state in the country to allow all people to marry the person they love.
If you have any questions or comments about the Marriage Equality Act or the House Energy Policy Omnibus bill, please contact me by phone at (651) 296-0171, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by postal mail at 559 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155.