Gay marriage closer to law: Local leaders split over House vote
Published 10:35 am Friday, May 10, 2013
With cheers and protests thundering through the Capitol, the Minnesota House on Thursday took a historic step toward legalizing same-sex marriage.
The bill passed 75-59 with resounding DFL support and the votes of four Republicans. The measure now goes to the Senate on Monday, where its passage is considered likely. Gov. Mark Dayton has said he intends to sign the bill into law, which would make Minnesota the 12th state to legalize same-sex marriage.
After hearing of the outcome, pastor Shari Mason of First Congregational Church in Austin said she believes the state is on the right path.
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“My heart really goes out to anyone who is excluded, and anything I can do to bring more inclusion; it’s what we’re called to do,” she said.
By coincidence, the church is hosting a Shower of Stoles — a traveling exhibit of more than 1,000 religious garments donated by LGBT individuals who have served but have been defrocked for their sexual orientation — through May 15. The church also voted in February to become an LGBT Open and Affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ.
“It’s a way for the church to let the community know we were open and affirming to the LGBT community,” Mason said. “For me it’s an issue of justice. The common theme in the Bible is God calling us to care for the orphan, the widow and the alien. And the life of Jesus was about reaching out to those others, about including all.”
In opposition to the bill, Dr. David DeFor, pastor at the Austin Church of Christ, said the issue is biblically based and not just his opinion.
“Same-sex marriage cannot produce children,” he said. “By passing this bill, they’re trying to redefine marriage, which cancels out centuries of definition in culture.”
DeFor said children will be the losers if the bill becomes law.
“We know all of the studies show that the healthiest way to raise children is one man and one woman, and if that’s the case, then children are going to be put in a tense situation that’s not healthy,” he said.
An amendment to the bill, which adds “civil” to the state’s marriage law, aims to draw a line between civil and religious marriage ceremonies, and protect religious groups that choose not to marry same-sex partners, but DeFor cited cases in other states where religious groups were sued after refusing to marry gay people.
DeFor also said it’s not right that anyone against same-sex marriage is labeled a homophobe.
“I’m not against people,” he said. “There’s still a loving God, but to drive it down people’s throats is anti-biblical.”
Mason said her view on same-sex marriage also fits with her interpretation of the Bible.
“For me, it fits with my understanding of the Bible that all should have the right to marry,” she said.
If it becomes law, she said, she would wed same-sex partners.
—The McClatchy-Tribune contributed to this report.