House committee sets up floor vote on same-sex marriageby Laura Yuen, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A ballot question asking voters to decide on a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage took another step forward Wednesday.
The House Rules Committee passed the measure by a vote of 13 to 12, sending it to the House floor.
Rep. Tim Kelly of Red Wing was the only Republican to vote against the measure. Kelly joins Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, as the only two Republican legislators to publicly voice their opposition to the measure so far.
The bill's sponsor, Rep. Steve Gottwalt, R-St. Cloud, told the panel he rejects arguments that the proposal is discriminatory.
"This is current state law," he said. "The desire is simply to put before the people, 'Should we be more permanently placing it where politicians and judges cannot redefine it?'"
But critics say changing the constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman would be putting the state on the wrong side of history.
"The public is changing," said Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul. "Young people are changing. People don't feel the same way they did a short 10 or 15 years ago."
The bill cleared the Senate last week and is expected to pass in the Republican-controlled House. Voters would decide on the issue in the 2012 general election.
(MPR reporter Tom Scheck contributed to this report.)