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Putting the “Civil” Into The Minnesota Marriage Equality Bill

Flag_of_Minnesota.svgA last minute change in the bill before the Minnesota Assembly may actually increase the likelihood of marriage equality legislation passing this year. The change is simple. They have chosen to add the word “civil” in front of marriage in the law. The move would clarify the proposal, according to those making the change. It will make it clear that any “change” to the “definition of marriage” is to the legal version.

Freshman Republican Representative David FitzSimmons, a Republican, offered the change, but he has not said if the change would make him more likely to vote for the bill.

The change is not meeting with much resistance. In fact, Richard Carlbom, the campaign manager for Minnesotans United, stated “Minnesotans United supports this amendment, and we will encourage the members of the Minnesota House of Representatives to support it as well. Representative FitzSimmons’ amendment affirms the fact that Minnesotans want same-sex couples to have the freedom to marry in our state while also ensuring that clergy members and religious institutions are free to practice their beliefs free from government intrusion.”

The House is set to vote on the measure on 9 May, that being today. Should the House pass the bill, it would then go before the Senate, which is expected to take this up on Monday, 13 May. State Senator Branden Petersen, the only Republican supporting the bill, has stated that he supports the amendment.

The change to civil marriage has, according to Petersen, been coming for some time. He stated “It’s come down as of late as the reality of the vote was setting in.”

Governor Mark Dayton has vowed to sign the legislation should it pass.

Minnesota would become the twelfth state and thirteenth jurisdiction to pass same-sex marriage. Should Minnesota pass a same-sex marriage law, the only remaining jurisdiction that is considering marriage equality would end up being the Illinois, where the legislation is currently stalled. Nevada is working on passing an amendment to remove their Defense of Marriage Amendment from their Constitution, but that would not happen for several more years.

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