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Minnesota House Moves To Ban Same-Sex Marriage

Cara Palmer |
May 23, 2011 | 12:22 p.m. PDT

Staff Columnist

 Fibonacci Blue, Creative Commons)
Fibonacci Blue, Creative Commons)
In an echo of Civil Rights Movement protests, crowds of people sang “We Shall Overcome” outside the doors of the Minnesota House on Saturday in response to the passage of a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

The vote was 70-62, and concluded with one of the bill sponsors, Representative Gottwalt (R-St. Cloud), saying that this issue is one the public should decide. The amendment is now on the ballot for the 2012 elections.

Laws banning same-sex marriage already exist in Minnesota, but “supporters of the amendment say putting the language in the constitution would prevent a judge from overturning the law,” according to Minnesota Public Radio.

The same-sex marriage ban mirrors the previous illegality of interracial marriage, stuck down by the Supreme Court in 1967 in Loving v. Virginia. The Court ruled anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional violations of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees equal protection under the law, and has been used to prevent unlawful discrimination. The debate on the House floor in Minnesota was long and emotional, with both Democrats and Republicans speaking out against the amendment because it allows discrimination based on sexual orientation. Representative John Ward said movingly in opposition to the amendment, “I will never, ever allow discrimination, to the best of my ability, ever again.” This amendment is, like the anti-miscegenation laws, a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. It allows discrimination against same-sex couples by banning them from the ability to marry, an ability enjoyed by heterosexual couples. MPR stated, “Opponents say adopting the amendment would enshrine discrimination in the state’s founding document.”

Opponents of the amendment have now launched a campaign against it, called “Minnesotans United for All Families.” Join their cause if you stand up for constitutional rights of equality.

 

Reach Staff Columnist Cara Palmer here or follow her on Twitter.



 

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