Goodwin: If State Bans Same-sex Marriage, Ban Divorce Too
She says the effort is about discrimination.
Supporters of a Constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage should also support a ban on divorce in heterosexual marriages, said state Sen. Barb Goodwin (DFL-50) at a high-profile Capitol hearing Friday.
Goodwin suggested tweaking the text of the proposed amendment so the Minnesota Constitution would not only limit marriage to couplings of one man and one woman, but also to one marriage per person per lifetime—a ban on divorce, though not separation. (See video clip.)
See also this related post: Update (Video): Goodwin Re-tries Adding No-Divorce to Gay-Marriage Ban
The proposed ballot question:
Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?
Goodwin, whose Senate district includes the western part of Fridley, first proposed adding the words "for life" after the word "union," then to replace "a marriage" with "one marriage."
After Goodwin's amendments both failed on 11-1 votes in the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee, she explained the point she was trying to make—to audible, roaring response from people following the debate from outside the committee room:
I think what that vote proved, and those two amendments proved, is that it isn't basically an issue of how sacred marriage is. I think it's an issue of discrimination. …
I will never in this Legislature—even if I get defeated—will never vote to put some language of discrimination in our state Constitution. And I feel very strongly about that.
I try to vote the way my constituents want me to vote. I survey them. I try to find out their feelings on issues. But I personally have a couple of things I will never do. And one is I will never vote to put discrimination in our Constitution. And I will never vote to put capital punishment on the ballot. I [could] not live with myself.
And those of you who claim to be religious and good Christians, I think you really need to think about what you're doing here. Because you're hurting a lot of people.
In later comments to the committee (see video clip), Goodwin said voters elect legislators "to think about what we do," rather than follow a popular impulse toward creating discriminatory laws. It's a legislator's duty "to rise above that even if sometimes [the public] can't," she said.
Goodwin concluded, "This is craziness."
The bill passed the committee on a party-line, 8-4 vote. If the full state House and Senate pass the bill, the question of amending the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriage will go on the ballot for Minnesota voters to decide.
More on the Minnesota marriage amendment: