Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Minnesota to consider same-sex marriage

Minnesota is set to hold a hearing regarding the Marriage & Family Protection Act which includes measures that would establish civil unions and recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages. Andy Birkey of The Minnesota Independent reports:
Same-sex marriage to get ‘historic’ hearing at Minnesota Capitol
"LGBT advocates are calling an upcoming Minnesota House committee hearing on same-sex marriage “historic.” The hearing, to be held Monday afternoon, will be the first time same-sex marriage will be discussed in a committee hearing without the specter of a constitutional ban on gay marriage — a measure Republicans have tried for years to pass.
The only hitch: It’s only for informational purposes, and no vote will be taken.
OutFront Minnesota, the state’s largest LGBT advocacy group, says that’s okay. It’s still progress
“Although no votes will be taken Monday, the hearing will be historic because it is the first time a committee in our state Legislature will be looking at what enacting marriage equality means for Minnesota,” the group wrote in an email on Thursday.
Three measures will be discussed: a bill to make marriage gender neutral (the Marriage and Family Protection Act), a bill to establish civil unions, and a bill to allow for the recognition of same-sex marriage performed outside Minnesota
Doug Benson, the citizen author of the Marriage and Family Protection Act, said the hearing seems to be more an effort to stifle gay marriage supporters during an election year.
“It’s basically a show hearing,” he said.
But OutFront believes it’s a good opportunity to let legislators know how important the issue is.
“Supporters of marriage equality will speak about what it would be like if our state no longer explicitly barred same-sex couples from legal protections. Legislators will hear from experts and their constituents that discrimination against people because of who they love or who they are is wrong.”

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