Sen. Scott Dibble says Legislature can pass gay marriage without GOP votes

Sen. Scott Dibble says Legislature can pass gay marriage without GOP votes
Dibble plans to introduce the bill later in the session, which begins next week.

Sen. Scott Dibble hopes a few Republicans will come out in favor of legalizing gay marriage this year, but if they don't, he believes a bill can still pass.

Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, plans to introduce a marriage equality bill into the Senate this session, he says. There hasn't been an internal vote count yet, but he estimates that if the votes aren't there yet among the DFL majority, "we are very close."

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For those DFL legislators who are on the fence, there will still be time to decide.

Dibble doesn't plan to introduce the bill until the tail end of the session, he says. In the meantime, the plan is to focus on fiscal issues. High up on that to-do list will be overhauling Minnesota's tax system.

As we reported in this week's cover story, the issue of gay marriage in Minnesota is complicated. Given that 75 of Minnesota's 87 counties actually voted in favor of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, some DFL legislators -- particularly those in rural, socially conservative districts -- could find themselves in an uncomfortable position when it does come time to vote on the issue.

Dibble says the strategy for pushing a gay marriage bill is "still not super clear" at this point.

"We have to kind of get in the session, figure out the path," he says. "I'm hoping that marriage does not become this thing that completely and totally consumes all oxygen."

Similar to the "Vote No" campaign against the failed amendment, Dibble says he hopes to frame gay marriage in the context of a family matter, rather than a polarizing political issue.

"I know it sounds naive and optimistic, but this really should not be controversial," he says. "It's a simple matter. It's just folks making a commitment and taking responsibility for each other."

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