The St. Louis County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to take a stand against the proposed constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
The board voted 4-3 in favor of a resolution opposing the amendment. The northeast Minnesota county is the first in the state to go on record opposing the amendment. The Duluth City Council passed a similar resolution last year, the first city in the state to do so. Twelve other city councils have since followed suit.
Supporters of the resolution said the amendment is discriminatory and deprives people of individual freedoms. But opponents, including Board Chair Keith Nelson of Fayal Township, said it was inappropriate for the board to weigh in on a state issue.
"To work on this stuff at the County Board, it just makes no sense," Nelson said. "And we'll be judged on this issue, which we have nothing to do with."
Nelson accused supporters of political grandstanding just five weeks before the election. Supporters said elected officials should take a position on the issue.
"I think it's absolutely appropriate for county commissioners or city councilors, whoever, to stand up and say, this is wrong, we shouldn't abrogate people's rights," said Commissioner Frank Jewell of Duluth, who co-sponsored the resolution.
Opponents argued it was inappropriate to take a stand on an issue over which the board has no authority.