May 23, 2011 at 4:42 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Franken comes out against Minn. marriage amendment

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.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • Thanks, Al, but it seems that your stated opposition would have been more helpful prior to MN House and Senate votes.

  • all this is for naught……it may take another decade – but Marriage Equality WILL come to the USA – and these HATEFUL state Ammendments WILL BE STRUCK down.

  • David Phillips, how would it have helped had Senator Franken, one of our most committed allies in the entire Congress, made this statement before the recent votes? Do you really think that there’s a single Republican member of the Minnesota state legislature – and let’s recall that it was their votes we needed and were unable to secure – who would have been persuaded by anything which Senator Franken has to say on this or any other matter?

    Now that this issue regrettably will go before the voters of Minnesota, it is appropriate for Senator Franken to be actively involved in the efforts to persuade Minnesotans that this amendment is inconsistent with the values which make Minnesota a special place. I have no doubt that Senator Franken and Governor Dayton will be active allies in this struggle and only hope that Senator Klobuchar shows half as much commitment to the struggle as either of them.

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