Minnesota's marriage debate, which took center stage during this past fall's state elections, now appears headed for an airing at the state Capitol.
State Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, told Patch he plans to introduce a bill within the next two weeks that would lift Minnesota's ban on same-sex marriage. (To see an earlier Patch story on this topic, click on this link.)
"I don't think anyone's rights should be subject to public opinion," Marty said. He was referring to the failed attempt by conservatives and traditionalists this past fall to enact a state Constitutional amendment that would have legally defined marriage as only being between one man and woman. (Click on to this Patch report for background.)
"Why is government telling the churches who they can marry or who they can't?," asked Marty, who has previously introduced legislation to legalize same-sex marital unions.
The veteran lawmaker said he wants to give churches the freedom to perform same-sex marriage. But Marty his leglslation will also respect the rights of churches not perform same-sex marriages.
"I want to be respectful in this conversation with the Catholic Church," whose doctrine opposes same-sex marriage, Marty said.
Nevertheless, Marty added the Catholic Church shouldn't impose its views on other people or churches. That's like telling someone else "not to eat that donut because it offends my diet," he said.
Some state lawmakers, like Sen. Barb Goodwin, DFL-District 41, have said they want to focus on budget issues in 2013 and deal with same-sex marriage in the 2014 sesssion.
While the state budget should be the Legislature's top priority for 2013, the gay marriage issue shouldn't be delayed, Marty said.
"This something that shouldn't have to wait," Marty said. He added the issue need not be a big distraction, that the Senate's Judiciary Committee should hold a hearing on the matter, vote it up or down and, if it passes, bring it to vote of the full Senate.
"This should not be a big time-consuming thing," Marty contended.