Committees clear way for House vote on same-sex marriage bill

9:19 PM, May 7, 2013   |    comments
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ST. PAUL, Minn. - The same-sex marriage bill vote will be up for vote on the floor of the Minnesota House on Thursday.

The full House will take up Representative Karen Clark's bill on Thursday after it cleared the committee process following a quick Rules Committee vote Tuesday morning.

"Over the course of the last few days, I think people are feeling more and more comfortable," House Speaker Paul Thissen, a Minneapolis Democrat, told reporters.

"We are confident we have the votes to take the bill up this week," said House Majority Leader Erin Murphy, a St. Paul Democrat.

Rep. Tim Kelly, a Republican from Red Wing, was the only one who gave a short statement before the rules committee voice vote. He said his civil union proposal never got a hearing in committee.

"I cannot vote for the gay marriage bill. I can't say that government should have the role in defining marriage," he told KARE 11.

A few hours later, about 300 yards away, the Senate Finance Committee sorted through the fiscal implications of the Senate version of the bill. After a significant debate in which GOP Senators asked many questions, the bill was passed on to the full Senate after a voice vote. The Senate is waiting on the House and the earliest it could begin debate would be Saturday.

Bill sponsor, DFL Senator Scott Dibble, of Minneapolis, was confident when asked about the coming days.

"I think it'll be a strong vote (in the Senate). I don't know if it'll be overwhelming, but it'll be a good, strong, solid vote," he said.

Sen. Warren Limmer, a Maple Grove Republican, told reporters that recent public opinion shows the measure does not have broad, statewide support.

"I think legislators are really starting to wonder if they will survive next year's election if they are opposed to their people back home," Limmer said.

Professor David Schultz, a political analyst with Hamline University, believes the house vote could be close, and says the political stakes are high all the way around.

"If you're leadership, don't bring something up unless you think you have the votes because it can embarrass you," Schultz said.

(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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