Despite an economic crisis in the state and a budget that is still pending, Minnesota Republicans have decided instead to focus on bashing gays, the Minnesota Independent reports:
Republicans in the Minnesota Senate introduced three bills on Tuesday that aim to put a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage before voters in 2012. Minnesota law already outlaws same-sex marriage.
Not only that, the bill will be fast-tracked to meet a committee deadline and will get a hearing this week.
Said the bill's author Sen. Warren Limmer (above, right): "We believe we owe the public the opportunity to be engaged…Personally I don’t think there’s going to be that much backlash on this. We want to give the public as much time as possible to consider it."
Since the bill is a ballot initiative, it will bypass Gov. Mark Dayton’s veto pen should it pass both chambers of the Legislature, which — since both bodies are controlled by Republicans — it seems likely to do.
The ballot question would read, “Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?”
“It’s disturbing that Republicans want to use one of the last weeks of the legislative session to marginalize one group of people and divide our state. We are facing a $5 billion budget shortfall, yet Republicans believe the biggest threat to our state’s welfare is who is allowed to be married.”
“For same-sex couples, marriage is about economics; it’s about allowing families to take responsibility for each other and support their loved ones, creating strong households throughout our state. For this reason, there is significant evidence that the states that do the best economically are the ones that embrace diversity, not shut it out. With this amendment, we are taking Minnesota in exactly the opposite direction of where we should be headed – toward a stronger economy that welcomes the contributions of all people.”
“Minnesotans who are married legally have access to at least 515 laws that provide security, legal protections, and basic rights such as the ability to care for each other. As lawmakers, we should be focused on breaking these barriers that still exist for thousands of Minnesotans, rather than further isolating one group of people and wasting taxpayers’ time with unfounded fears.”
“This issue doesn’t help a single family in Minnesota, it doesn’t create a single job, and it actually harms our state’s economy. It is very troubling that we’re being asked to spend the final days of the legislative session focused on such a divisive issue.”