GOP lawmaker joins fight for gay marriage

7:07 PM, Feb 20, 2013   |    comments
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ST. PAUL, Minn. -- A Republican lawmaker has decided to break ranks with his party to join the effort to pass a same-sex marriage law in Minnesota.

State Sen. Branden Petersen of Andover told KARE 11 he's prepared to co-author the marriage legislation, along with DFL Sen. Scott Dibble of Minneapolis.

"Ultimately, I'm prepared to do the right thing at any cost," he said.

Petersen said he believes "marriage equality" is consistent with core conservative values. He also said that he looks forward to shaping the language of the bill, including measures that would allow religious leaders to refrain from performing same-sex marriage ceremonies and child support measures should a same-sex marriage end in divorce.

"We believe that government ought not to have different rules for different people, and we think people ought to be treated equally under the law. I think it's clear that people aren't in this case," Petersen said.

Petersen's co-author welcomed the Republican's support and contributions to the legislation.

"The fact that Sen. Petersen is looking at signing onto this bill is very encouraging ... a real step forward," Dibble said.

Meantime, those opposing the same-sex marriage legislation argued that Petersen is "misguided" in his decision to support the law.

"I think people don't realize that once you completely redefine marriage from what it is now, which is recognizing the union of one man and one woman as something unique, it's government's most effective way to protect kids and make sure that kids are in stable homes," said Autumn Leva with Minnesota for Marriage, the group lobbying against the legislation.

Leva said marriage law opponents have talked to several DFLers about also opposing the law. At this point, the only Democrat to publicly come out against the legislation is Sen. LeRoy Stumpf of Plummer.

A bill is expected to be introduced late next week.

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