Republicans fast track proposed constitutional amendment aimed at banning gay marriage

Warren Limmer knows what's best for your marriage.
Warren Limmer knows what's best for your marriage.

Republicans in the state Senate have announced they are fast-tracking a bill that would put a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage before the voters by 2012.

Might as well get started now, they say, so that we can all have plenty of "discussion" before the next election.

Because there just hasn't been enough "discussion," bitterness, acrimony and general fear mongering yet over this issue?

Here's Maple Grove Sen. Warren Limmer, one of three senators who announced the legislation today:

"The proposed constitutional amendment asks voters to define marriage as solely between one man and one woman in Minnesota. This issue constantly comes up during legislative sessions and it's time for the people to decide. Allowing a small number of politicians, or activist judges in St. Paul to decide the definition of marriage would not be acceptable. We propose an early passage in the legislature this year, followed by a year discussion in our communities statewide in order to be prepared to vote in next year's General Election."

Minnesota already has a law on the books defining whom its citizens are allowed to marry, but the change to the state constitution is aimed at throttling potential legal challenges. Here's what it would say:

"Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?"

Republicans have tried for years to get this question onto a statewide ballot, but they've been stymied by DFL control in St. Paul. Now that the power is all theirs, it's all but certain the proposed amendment will sail through both chambers and go before the voters.

Democrats, including Gov. Mark Dayton, can stand by and object, but they are more or less powerless to stop the process.

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