Senate attempt to repeal anti-gay amendment fails

by February 16, 2012

Sen. Mary Jo McGuire

An attempt to repeal an anti-gay marriage amendment failed in a Senate committee on Wednesday. Rep. Mary Jo McGuire of Falcon Heights attempted to amend a proposed — and controversial — voter ID constitutional amendment with language that would repeal the anti-gay marriage amendment. The effort failed along party lines.

McGuire made the motion in the Local Government and Elections committee on Wednesday afternoon.

“I’m giving you an opportunity to actually repeal something we already passed, a constitutional amendment on defining marriage, which I absolutely think should not be in our constitution,” she said.

Committee Chair Ray Vandeveer, a Republican from Forest Lake, tried at first to prevent a vote on the amendment saying it was not germane. When pressed, however, a Senate lawyer said it could go through.

Sen. Warren Limmer, a Republican from Maple Grove and the chief sponsor of the anti-gay marriage amendment last year, demanded that the vote be recorded in the Senate Journal.

McGuire’s motion failed along party lines, 8 nos and 6 yeses.

Two bills to repeal the anti-gay marriage amendment remain alive in both the House and the Senate, though it’s unlikely either will get a hearing from Republican committee chairs.

“This fall, Minnesota voters will be asked whether we should amend our state’s constitution to ban marriage for loving, caring and committed same-sex couples,” McGuire said after the vote. “Leading up to the election, Minnesota families will be subjected to a negative and expensive campaign that threatens to marginalize one group of people and deeply divide our state. I believe it is in the best interest of Minnesota, our citizens and our business community to repeal this damaging amendment, and I am deeply disappointed that Republicans refuse to undo their terrible mistake.”

She added, “The anti-marriage amendment doesn’t help a single family in Minnesota, it doesn’t create a single job, and it actually harms our state’s economy. Writing discrimination into the state’s constitution is a terrible mistake that will simply divide our state and hurt our economic competiveness. I urge Republicans to do what is best for our state and economy by taking this dangerous and divisive amendment off the November ballot.”

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