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Lawmaker Seeking Same-Sex Marriage Legalization This Year

Roseville's John Marty contends: "I don't think human rights should be put up to the vote of people."

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-66) told Patch he plans to introduce a bill within the next two weeks that would lift Minnesota's ban on same-sex marriage. 

"I don't think anyone's rights should be subject to public opinion," Marty said, referring to last year's vote on a constitutional amendment that tried to ban same-sex marriage.

Several DFL legislators have been reluctant to foreground any fight for same-sex marriage despite the resounding defeat handed to amendment supporters in November's election. The state's messy fiscal situation and tax problems, they've said, comes first. 

"This something that shouldn't have to wait," Marty said.

While he agreed with the importance of budgets and taxes, he claimed the issue need not be a big distraction. He urged the Senate's Judiciary Committee to 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.

he hopes the issue will be seen as part of conversations about investing in things that keep the state healthy.

"We're tackling large issues of what we're doing as a state to make sure we're on as solid a footing as possible to take care of each other, and hopefully marriage becomes part of that discussion," he said.

Mart said he wants to give churches the freedom to perform same-sex marriage. But Marty his legislation will also respect the rights of churches not perform same-sex marriages.

"Why is government telling the churches who they can marry or who they can't?," asked Marty. "I want to be respectful in this conversation with the Catholic Church."

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.

Dan Johnson February 04, 2013 at 01:07 AM
The vast body of evidence since the early days of social science, shows prejudice causes harm in a wide variety of ways. Laws that deny equality, result in dehumanization and stigmatization that is used to justify their behavior by those who bully, beat, torture, and kill. It also results in self destruction, both fast and slow. The same prejudice used to dehumanize and harm us us here through denial of legal equality, is also used around the world to justify imprisonment, torture, and death, both officially, and otherwise. The only way to end this deadly prejudice is to expose it and the harm it causes, anywhere and everywhere it surfaces. Prejudice is a deadly disease that can only be cured through education and understanding. Let's remember all religious beliefs as well as non-religious belief systems promote the ethic of reciprocity and equality: That "no man require to reserve to himself any right, which he is not content should be reserved to every one of the rest". The Golden Rule is not just a good idea and a promise of our founding documents; it is required by the 5th and 14th amendments of our constitution.
Dan Johnson February 05, 2013 at 03:56 PM
Equal rights should never depend on popular opinion or vote: "The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One's right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections." (SCOTUS) James Madison wrote: “It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part … If a majority be united by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be insecure.” John Adams, the second U.S. president: "the majority has eternally, and without one exception, usurped over the rights of the minority." Or as Jesse Ventura put it bluntly: "You can't put a civil rights issue on the ballot and let the people decide … If you left it up to the people, we'd have slavery, depending on how you worded it." "All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression." - Thomas Jefferson

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