Sen. Branden Petersen becomes first MNGOP legislator to support gay marriage bill

Petersen voted in favor of putting the marriage amendment on the ballot, but two years later, he's changed his tune.
Petersen voted in favor of putting the marriage amendment on the ballot, but two years later, he's changed his tune.

Sen. Scott Dibble, D-Minneapolis, thinks the to-be-introduced-any-day-now marriage equality bills could get through the Legislature without any MNGOP votes. Turns out he'll have at least one.

SEE ALSO: Dayton's State of the State gay marriage endorsement: A picture tells 1,000 words [PHOTO]

Sen. Branden Peterson, R-Andover, is the first MNGOP legislator to come out in support of legalizing gay marriage.

In fact, the Star Tribune reports Petersen "is preparing to become a co-sponsor" of the bill. From the Strib piece:

Petersen said he has several concerns that must be addressed before he will sign onto the measure. He wants to add language guaranteeing that any religious leader can choose not to wed same-sex couples. He also insists that kids in same-sex marriages have the same financial guarantees as children of other married couples in time of divorce.

"It's only a matter of time before same-sex marriage is legal," Petersen said. "I thought it was important to engage the issue now, and when we do it, do it right, and that there's some perspective from the people I represent in that."

Sen. Scott Dibble, who is chief sponsor of the bill, said he is willing to agree to Petersen's additions.

"Everything he has articulated, I see no problem with. At all," said Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis.

But while Petersen is the first MNGOP legislator to signal support for a gay marriage bill, at least one DFLer -- Sen. LeRoy Stumpf, D-Plummer -- has already said he'll vote against legalizing gay marriage.

"I feel strongly in my beliefs that it is not something I would support," Stumpf told the Strib. "It's a sacrament in our church. I'm Catholic."

Of course, with Democrats in the majority in both the House and Senate, if the number of Republicans who vote for a marriage equality bill is equal to the number of Democrats voting against it, it'll still have the support necessary to reach Governor Dayton's desk. And Petersen says he isn't the only MNGOPer considering a "yes" vote.

"I know there are other Republicans who are very interested in supporting same-sex marriage," Petersen told the Strib.

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