The junior senator from Minnesota has come out against a proposed initiative that would constitutionally ban same-sex marriage in the North Star State.
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) announced in a statement Monday his opposition to a measure that will appear on the Minnesota state ballot in the 2012 election and, if passed, would make a prohibition on same-sex marriage part of the state constitution.
“Every Minnesotan deserves dignity and equal treatment under the law, and our state’s same-sex couples should have the same right to marry as anyone else — period,” Franken said. “This amendment would do nothing more than write discrimination into our state’s constitution and add to the barriers same-sex couples already face to the full recognition of their families. I’m hopeful that common sense and compassion will prevail and that this amendment will be defeated.”
A supporter of same-sex marriage, Franken is also among the co-sponsors of the Respect for Marriage Act, legislation pending before the Senate that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, an anti-gay law that prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage.
Last week, the Minnesota State House gave final approval to the proposed constitutional amendment by a vote of 70-62. The State Senate had already passed the measure. The Legislature’s approval sends the measure to the state electorate. If a majority of voters approve the marriage ban in 2012, it will become part of the state constitution.
Same-sex marriage is already prohibited in Minnesota by statute, but passage of the amendment would prohibit the Legislature from legalizing same-sex marriage in the future or the state courts from finding a right to same-sex marriage in the state constitution. The measure’s supporters say the proposed constitutional amendment leaves open the possibility for enacting civil unions in Minnesota.