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Continued: Gay marriage fight begins in Minnesota Legislature

  • Article by: BAIRD HELGESON , Star Tribune
  • Last update: February 28, 2013 - 6:01 AM

State Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, R-Glencoe, said Wednesday that homosexuality is “a choice” and later called it a “sexual addiction” that did not warrant the same rights granted heterosexual couples.

“The concept you are born that way is an unscientific lie,” Gruenhagen said.

House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said he wants to see same-sex marriage legalized in Minnesota, but he cautioned the vote would not come early in the legislative session.

Budget first, then a vote

“We need to get our budget work completed before we take that up,” said Thissen, sitting in front of a sign signed by hundreds of people thanking him for his opposition to the constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex unions. “But there’s still work that needs to be done to build the support around it, too.”

Thissen said he will not bring up the measure for a floor vote until he is certain of its passage.

Ken Martin, chair of the state DFL Party, is trying to help with that. He said he understands the issue can be very divisive and could jeopardize re-election chances for some.

“We will do everything we can in our power to make sure those legislators are returned to office next year,” Martin said. “We will commit significant resources to protect all of our incumbents, including those that take tough votes this legislative session.”

Advocates also have made it clear that they need Republican support.

Recently, Sen. Branden Petersen, R-Andover, broke ranks to say he would support the measure — the first GOP member to do so. On Wednesday, former Republican State Auditor Pat Anderson said she supported Petersen and same-sex marriage.

“As a strong proponent of limited government, conservative principles and individual liberty, I am proud to add my name as co-author of legislation to secure the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in Minnesota,” Petersen said in a statement.

If same-sex marriage becomes law, weddings could commence as early as August.

 

Baird Helgeson • 651-925-5044

 

 

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  • Rabbi Michael Latz, right, got a kiss from his daughter after speaking Wednesday at a news conference that introduced a bill to legalize same-sex marriages. Latz was there with husband Michael Simon, center, as one of the couples with children surrounding Sen. Scott Dibble and Rep. Karen Clark, sponsors of the bill.

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  • Speaking at the news conference introducing the bill, Dr. Paul Melchert got an unexpected car across the face from son Emmett. Behind them were husband James Zimmerman and the couple’s son Gabriel.

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