Despite strong dissent from Burnsville Republican Sen. Dan Hall, a same-sex marriage bill moved from committee Tuesday to the full Senate.
Hall stayed mum for the majority of the three hour hearing, but at last spoke up with five minutes left on the clock.
"One (person who testified in support of the bill) said if I don't agree with same sex marriage I must be a bully? They're already name-calling?" Hall said "I have a problem with that. I can't tell you how many letters and tweets I've gotten saying 'You're a bigot' because you disagree."
"I'm trying to be a nice guy but I have an opinion," Hall continued.
Though Hall prefaced his comments by stating that "we want to treat everyone with love and respect," but he implied that homosexual marriages would be harmful to children. Marriage is "about kids," Hall said—raising them to be happy, healthy and productive, though he did not explain why he thought homosexual couples might somehow detract from this stated goal. Marriage between a man and a woman, he said, is "based on truth and values that men and women are complimentary."
"That's our goal. That's what we should try to obtain—the best, not to push down or make people second rate," Hall said. "You put up the goal, the best to achieve."
This bill, he argued, would further distance "marriage" from "the needs of children, weaken monogamy exclusivity and permanency." He also took issue with several people who had been raised by homosexual parents, who testified that day in support of the bill.
"They say 'We're all fine.' Do really you represent all (the children who have been raised by same sex couples)?" Hall said. "Not the ones I've talked to."
Hall further questioned gay couples' motives in seeking out marriage as recognized by the state of Minnesota.
"Is it about romantic sexual relationship or is it about the benefits, the money? What is it you really want?" Hall said. "God is the only one that defines marriage. It is not a selfish act, it is a giving act."
Nevertheless, the Minnesota Senate Judiciary Committee approved Senate File 925, the bill introduced by Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis) extending marriage rights to same-sex couples. The committee split squarely along party lines, 5-3 vote Tuesday afternoon. Joining Hall were Sen. Warren Limmer (R-Maple Grove), Sen. Julianne Ortmann, a Republican whose district includes Chaska and Chanhassen, both of whom cast dissenting votes.
Dibble's bill received support from Committee Chair Sen. Ron Latz (DFL—Hopkins, St. Louis Park and Plymouth) and DFLers Richard Cohen of St. Paul, Kathy Sheran of Mankato, and Kari Dziedzic of Minneapolis, and Barb Goodwin of Columbia Heights.
To watch video of the committee's discussion and vote on the bill, click on the video at the top of this post or watch it at the UpTake's Livestream webpage.