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Legislators: Gay Marriage Amendment Unnecessary, Focus Should be on Budget

Oakdale's state legislators questioned the timing of debating a gay marriage amendment.

Oakdale’s legislators in the Minnesota House and Senate both said they oppose a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, and question House leadership’s decision to take time out in the last days of the session to debate it.

On Saturday, the Minnesota House passed the bill—which will put a question on the ballot in 2012 asking voters to decide whether to amend the state’s constitution to prohibit gay marriage.

The Minnesota Senate voted to put the issue on the ballot earlier this month.

“Minnesota law already has a statutory prohibition, and for those people that are advocates, it wasn’t even necessary to do this,” said Sen. Chuck Wiger (DFL-Maplewood).  “More fundamentally, we have a budget to resolve. We need to get that resolved, and I thought it was just misused time.”

Rep. Nora Slawik (DFL-Maplewood) also questioned the timing of the debate, two days before adjournment, when there is more than a year left to determine what issues might go on the 2012 ballot.

 Slawik called the proposed amendment “unnecessary and discriminatory.”

“I don't know of a single family this constitutional amendment helps, but I do that it causes pain, sadness and heartbreak for thousands of people and families across our state,” she said in an email. “As a state legislator, I can't bring myself to vote to enshrine discrimination in our constitution.”

Randall Johnson May 23, 2011 at 11:29 AM
Well-said, Senator Wiger and Representative Slawik. What a silly use of short time. Also, we should think about what merits inclusion in a "Constitution." In my opinion, any amendment to the state or federal Constitutions should be explicitly to expand our freedoms. Laws do the restricting, these central documents should be modified only to express ideas the law cannot restrict, not to forbid and further bind us.

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