Amendment to ban same-sex marriage close to Senate vote

A proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Minnesota is on its way to the Senate floor.

Republicans in the Senate Rules Committee approved the measure Friday on a divided voice vote.

The Legislature can put a constitutional amendment on the statewide ballot without the governor's signature.

The proposed amendment would define marriage as between one man and one woman.

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Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, the bill's chief author, said action this session gives the public more time to talk about the issue.

"To discuss and direct ... us in the next election where we're going on the definition of marriage, rather than let maybe even one judge make the definition alter or change," Limmer said.

Sen. Linda Berglin, DFL-Minneapolis, questioned the need to take up controversial ballot measures this year.

"We have a very limited amount of time left before the session is going to be over," Berglin said. "I don't believe using the time we have on something that can wait until next year is really the best use of time."