Same sex marriage bill passes Senate

MINNESOTA – In a 37-30 vote, the same-sex marriage bill was passed today by the Minnesota Senate after more than four hours of debate. District 22 Sen. Bill Weber voted against the bill. Gov. Mark Dayton has already vowed to sign the measure if it made it past both the House and Senate. The House passed the measure Thursday on a 75 to 59 vote.

Before today’s debate, Sen. John Hoffman of Champlin told his peers to do anything less then vote yes was to continue the pain of exclusion. More than one senator mentioned the opportunity to become a part of history, or compared the marriage of same sex couples to the fight for the right of interracial marriage.

On the other side of the argument, Sen. Dan Hall of Burnsville said the document would bring civil disobedience and confuse our children. Sen. Torrey Westrom of Elbow Lake called the bill a wrong step in history.

A significant amount of time was spent arguing the merits of an amendment brought forth by Sen. Paul Gazelka, which he said was to protect religious freedom. Those against the amendment said it would gut the civil rights act, authorizing business owners and employees to discriminate freely, based on religious reasons. The amendment did not pass in a 26-41 vote, yet Sen. Bill Weber, who had already stated he would vote against the marriage bill, cast a yea vote in support.

A second attempt at an amendment, this one from Sen. Torrey Westrom of Elbow Lake to clarify language using the terms mother, father, wife and husband, failed at 31-36 on a much narrower margin.

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