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The Minnesota Daily

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Student demonstrators in the rainy weather protesting outside of Coffman Memorial Union on Tuesday.
Photos from April 23 protests
Published April 23, 2024

Amendment un-needed, wrong

Minnesota already bans same-sex marriage, and the debate threatens actual progress.

The debate about same-sex marriage has returned to the State Capitol. State Sen. Michelle Bachmann, R-Stillwater, authored a bill that would authorize a referendum to amend the Minnesota Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. A House committee recently approved a related proposal.

The only thing more disturbing than the bill itself is the process supporters use to push it. The issue is equal access to marriage’s legal and social benefits. The discrimination will go the way of attitudes on interracial and interfaith marriage.

But religious conservatives feel they have a mandate from God to stop such changes. Their belief is not universal throughout society nor even among Christian individuals or denominations. Governments should not legislate one group’s religious eccentricities. Banning same-sex marriage will not end homosexuals committing their lives to each other. But it will rob these couples of the rights (and obligations to each other) society accords other married couples.

Sadly, Minnesota already bans same-sex marriage. Minnesota has not one, but two statutes banning same-sex marriage; our courts have consistently ruled against same-sex marriages.

The Legislature has much to do this session, including passing a budget. Last year, this issue bogged down the Legislature so much it is still working on last year’s main task: a bonding bill. So why are we talking about this? Politics and actual progress are currently at odds, and politics is winning.

The state Republican Party wants the redundant proposal on the 2006 ballot to motivate religious conservatives. Its willingness to grandstand was clear last week, when it dragged a House committee up to Grand Rapids, Minn., to approve the current proposal along party lines. Bachmann has already declared she will run for Congress in 2006, and her actions are clearly related to that campaign, to which conservative social policies will be central. Upon entering the “race,” Bachmann announced she is “the candidate for everyone who does everything right when they get up in the morning.” (She has not indicated if she seeks votes from unperfect persons.)

The discussion about same-sex marriages and other rights for homosexuals should and will go on. But the effort to constitutionally ban same-sex marriage is unnecessary and could bring state government to a halt, again. We hope both houses in the Legislature will soon return to dealing with more pressing matters and ones they can solve.

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