Sen. Ron Latz (DFL-District 46) said the religious nature of marriage has been “interposed” on the same-sex marriage discussion even though the marriage doesn’t have anything to do with religion under state law.
“It is true—it is quite true—that the debates we’ve been having over the last few years have centered around the religious definition of marriage. But that doesn’t mean that marriage is only based upon religion,” said Latz, whose district includes Golden Valley, Hopkins and St. Louis Park.
Latz was responding to worries from Assistant Minority Leader Warren Limmer (R-District 34) that the same-sex marriage bill would unduly interfere with religious organizations.
But Latz countered that the debate has nothing to do with religion.
“There is no religious content to it at all,” Latz said. “The religious content has been interposed upon the discussion, the debate, by those of good faith, based on their own religious faiths who view it that way. But that doesn’t change the exact form of state law.”
He described how religious leaders have described marriage as a “uniquely religious event” since he first joined the Legislature.
“But the fact is marriage is not a uniquely religious event,” he said. “According to state law, a judge in a civil ceremony—without any religion whatsoever involved—can, under state law, create a married couple by saying the right things, by the married couple or the couple to be giving consent, performing a contract that is recognized in state law as bringing with it certain rights and obligations.”
In the video player above, watch Latz's comments in response to a separate amendment from Sen. Paul E. Gazelka (R-District 9).
Limmer's amendment failed. The full bill passed in the Senate on a 37 to 30 vote following passage in the House on Thursday. Gov. Mark Dayton said he will sign the bill into law, and the law would take affect on Aug. 1 of this year.