Sen. Hall Takes Aim at Critics—Gay Marriage Bill Passes Committee

"I'm trying to be a nice guy but I have an opinion," Burnsville Sen. Dan Hall told supporters of gay marriage during a hearing on Tuesday.

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.

Dan Johnson March 20, 2013 at 06:54 PM
Real life rarely lives up to the ideals we can imagine. There have been many marriage type arrangements throughout history, including same sex couplings in humans as well as other species. Even in one man, one woman arrangements, the extended family - grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, older siblings, often helped with child care. Most people did not travel and move away as they do today, so extended family often lived close by if not in the same house. Women often died in child birth, and men were killed in war or work accidents, not to mention the flu and other illnesses. So having two birth parents throughout life was often not the case. Some people also could not have children, and often adopted. Gay people, just in some animal species, often helped raise the children. So when you accept the reality that families have taken and still take different forms, and we don't use the law to deny equal rights to any of those other families whether they have children or not, it becomes clear that using the law to deny to gay people the same rights granted to others is more about preserving the prejudice and discrimination against gay people than it is protecting the institution of marriage, or the children.
Dan Johnson March 20, 2013 at 07:16 PM
Even Justice Scalia has stated procreation has never been a requirement for marriage.
Dan Johnson March 20, 2013 at 11:00 PM
Marriage it is a fundamental right of the individual, as affirmed 14 times by the Supreme Court. The only eligibility requirement for fundamental rights is being human. Reasonable restrictions may be made only when a compelling and legitimate governmental interest can withstand judicial scrutiny. Most can agree with the courts that reasonable restrictions include age, ability to demonstrate informed consent, not being closely related, or currently married. While churches may place any restrictions they choose on their own ceremonies, the government can only restrict fundamental rights when a compelling and legitimate justification can be demonstrated. Gender alone is not a restriction. Procreation ability has never been a requirement for marriage, and therefore fails as a legitimate qualification. Yet even that irrational excuse for discrimination ignores the fact that gay people can and do reproduce, and are raising children either biologically related or adopted. Denial of equal treatment under the law provides nothing to opposite sex couple families. It only harms same sex couple families needlessly. Gay couples are seeking to be treated equally under the laws currently in effect, in the remaining states that do not yet recognize their marriages, and by the federal government. Neither tradition nor gender provides a legitimate governmental interest sufficient for denial of this fundamental right.
Dan Johnson March 20, 2013 at 11:25 PM
Restricting equal rights based on "the best" is refuted in Gill v: "But even if Congress believed at the time of DOMA's passage that children had the best chance at success if raised jointly by their biological mothers and fathers, a desire to encourage heterosexual couples to procreate and rear their own children more responsibly would not provide a rational basis for denying federal recognition to same-sex marriages. Such denial does nothing to promote stability in heterosexual parenting. Rather, it "prevents children of same-sex couples from enjoying the immeasurable advantages that flow from the assurance of a stable family structure, when afforded equal recognition under federal law. Moreover, an interest in encouraging responsible procreation plainly cannot provide a rational basis upon which to exclude same-sex marriages from federal recognition because, as Justice Scalia pointed out, the ability to procreate is not now, nor has it ever been, a precondition to marriage in any state in the country. Indeed, "the sterile and the elderly" have never been denied the right to marry by any of the fifty states. And the federal government has never considered denying recognition to marriage based on an ability or inability to procreate. Similarly, Congress' asserted interest in defending and nurturing heterosexual marriage is not "grounded in sufficient factual context for this court to ascertain some relation" between it and the classification DOMA effects."
Good as you March 27, 2013 at 01:54 PM
Succinct, factual arguments. Many thanks, Dan.


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