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REPLAY: Same-Sex Marriage Bill Announced Today

Opponents vow half-million dollar offensive to counter legalization.

REPLAY: Same-Sex Marriage Bill Announced Today

Wednesday morning, Minneapolis and St. Louis Park legislators are scheduled to introduce a measure to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota.

Watch the announcement live on Patch, courtesy of TheUptake! Tune in to this webpage at 10 a.m.

At 10 a.m., Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-61) and Reps. Karen Clark (DFL-62A) and Steve Simon (DFL-46B) will join Rabbi Michael Latz from Southwest Minneapolis' Shir Tikvah synagogue and United Church of Christ leader Rev. Karen Smith Sellers to formally announce the introduction of a legalization bill. All five were prominent leaders in the defeat of a 2012 state constitutional amendment seeking to ban same-sex marriage.

The legislation is co-authored by state Sen. Branden Peterson (R-35). National same-sex marriage opponents have vowed to unseat Peterson if he goes ahead with his sponsorship of the bill. 

“Republicans like Branden Petersen don’t realize that not only is voting to redefine marriage a terrible policy, it is also a career-ending vote for a Republican,” National Organization for Marriage head Brian Brown said in a statement emailed to reporters. “NOM will do everything in our power to defeat any Republican who votes in favor of same-sex marriage."

In the same announcement, NOM pledged $500,000 to unseat any Republican who supported same-sex marriage, and to support any Democrat who opposed same-sex marriage with an equal amount of money.

Legalization opponents recently floated a "counter offer" that would create a special class of legal partnerships, as between an adult serving as their sibling's caretaker, that same-sex couples could also access. The proposal only would grant same-sex couples a fraction of the rights included in civil marriage, and has been unpopular with same-sex marriage advocates.

Same-sex marriage advocates have so far been bullish about their chances for passing the bill and are trying to turn the network of volunteers who helped defeat the 2012 amendment into a tool to get same-sex marriage legalization passed.

UPDATE 12:39 p.m. 2/27/13: In response to the new legislation the head of same-sex marriage campaigners Minnesotans United for All Families issued the following statement:

“In Minnesota, we don’t turn our backs on family – and this legislation will make that statement as true as possible. No Minnesotan should be singled out and excluded from enjoying a basic freedom, like the freedom to marry the person they love, just because of who they are. There is no substitute for the unique promise of love and commitment inherent to marriage, and it is time for Minnesota state law to extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples.

"Same-sex couples pay taxes in Minnesota. They vote here, run businesses here, and serve in the military on behalf of their fellow Minnesotans. They work hard and contribute to the system just like anyone else, and they have children who deserve to grow up in stable families with married parents. The legislation introduced today – and authored by a bipartisan group of legislators – will ensure that in Minnesota, freedom always means freedom for everyone. Minnesotans United is proud to be mobilizing thousands of grassroots marriage supporters across our state to make sure every legislator in Saint Paul knows that passing this legislation in 2013 is an absolutely priority, and that it is a vote that they will be supported for having the leadership to take.”

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