Bipartisan marriage equality bill to be introduced in Minnesota

Bipartisan Minn. marriage equality bill to be announced on Wednesday

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  • Hundreds gather at Freedom to Marry rally in St. Paul

    Hundreds gather at Freedom to Marry rally in St. Paul

    Sunday, February 17 2013 12:53 PM EST2013-02-17 17:53:39 GMT
    Marriage equality took center stage at the Capitol in St. Paul on Valentine's Day as where hundreds gathered to urge Minnesota lawmakers to legalize same-sex marriage in the wake of the marriage amendment's defeat.
    Marriage equality took center stage at the Capitol in St. Paul on Valentine's Day as where hundreds gathered to urge Minnesota lawmakers to legalize same-sex marriage in the wake of the marriage amendment's defeat.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

On Wednesday morning, legislative leaders at the state Capitol will announce a bipartisan bill that seeks to grant same-sex couples the freedom to marry in Minnesota.

The historic legislation, co-authored by Republican Sen. Branden Petersen, will be formally introduced on Thursday.

Petersen told The Star Tribune he planned to co-sponsor the bill in order to do "the right thing," adding that he is fully prepared to accept losing his seat for bucking his party on the issue.

"I have a certain amount of peace about that," Petersen told the Star Tribune. "I will let the chips fall where they may."

Peterson also told the paper he believes it is only a matter of time before same-sex marriage is legal, adding that he knows other Republicans who are "very interested" in supporting same-sex marriage.

The news of the forthcoming legislation comes on the same day that dozens of prominent Republicans -- including a few from the Bush and Reagan administrations -- announced they intend to file an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in favor of legally recognizing same-sex unions. The nation's highest court will  take up both California's Proposition 8 and the national Defense of Marriage Act next month.

Other co-authors of the Minnesota legislation include:

  • Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis
  • Rep. Karen Clark, DFL-Minneapolis
  • Rep. Steve Simon, DFL-St. Louis Park

Clark is the longest-serving openly lesbian member to serve in a state legislature in the United States.

Simon drew national attention during the discussion of the failed amendment to ban gay marriage in the state when he asked, "How many more gay people does God have to create before we ask ourselves whether or not God actually wants them around?"

The bill will be introduced two weeks to the day after a Freedom to Marry rally was held at the Capitol. More than 2,000 Minnesotans gathered in the rotunda to urge lawmakers to legally recognize same-sex marriages in the state.

Dibble spoke at that rally, telling those gathered that he finds it ironic that his fellow lawmakers recognize his marriage even though the law itself does not.

"The workplace directory was just printed at the Capitol," Dibble said. "Guess what it says? Scott Dibble, married: spouse, Richard Leyva. So, it's not so hard."

The group Minnesota for Marriage has insisted amendment's defeat in the last election does not imply widespread support for legalization; however. They plan to rally at the Capitol on March 7.

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