Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mere formality

After the MN House last week approved a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, it was considered a mere formality that the Senate would go ahead and OK the House version. After about four hours of debate Monday, that is exactly what happened. Now the bill awaits Governor Mark Dayton's signature.

Dayton's signature, expected (this evening), will make Minnesota the 12th state in the country to allow same-sex marriage - and the first in the Midwest to do so via the Legislature and not the courts (That is one positive, IMO - ed.). Same -sex weddings could start here Aug. 1.

Once the DFL gained control of both chambers of the MN Legislature, I'm certain many Republicans felt that same-sex marriage was an inevitability if indeed the Democrats decided to broach the issue. Once the issue was engaged, the GOP wanted the religious liberty aspects sufficiently addressed. Unfortunately, many GOP senators did not feel such matters were resolved, hence only one Senate Republican (Branden Petersen, my own State Senator) cast a "yes" vote.

"This proposal does not protect religious institutions and non-profits," said Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove. Organizations like the YMCA, Northwestern College and the University of St. Thomas "are all religious affiliated institutions, but they are not protected. Northwestern is a very popular place to get married. That Christian college cannot refuse (a same sex wedding on its grounds), according to this law that we're considering. And so it goes with other institutions."

Wedding photographers and others who make a living off weddings but don't believe in gay marriage would be put in a position of being put out of work or "violating their core beliefs," said Sen. Sean Nienow, R-Cambridge.

The concerns addressed by Sens. Limmer and Nienow are usually dismissed since they're supposedly addressed in the First Amendment to the US Constitution. But as we've seen just this year alone, there were stringent attempts to infringe upon the Second Amendment in several states, not to mention by President Obama at the Federal level. And just last month, there were law enforcement officials going door-to-door in Watertown, MA in a feverish search for the surviving Boston Marathon bomber. I don't recall any search warrants being shown to residents in accordance with the Fourth amendment. With that in mind, it isn't exactly a 100% certainty that those with religious convictions will have their 1st amendment rights unequivocally protected.

One other thing that really bugged me during this whole process was the borderline condescension of the same-sex marriage supporters. We were constantly hearing the phrase "Be on the right side of history." I thought my friend and Northern Alliance Radio Network alum Chad the Elder's response pretty much captured my sentiment.



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