Same-sex marriage: Reaction from Minnesota residents

Noreen Javner of Lismore
Noreen Javner of Lismore, Minn., said marriage should be between a man and a woman. But times are changing, she says, and there is not much ordinary people can do to stop same-sex marriage legislation.
MPR Photo/Mark Steil

As the Minnesota Senate debated the same-sex marriage bill Monday, some of our reporters in greater Minnesota asked state residents what they thought of the legislation. Here are their responses.


Kristine Schularick: Ever since I can remember, I have always believed that love can transcend gender. It's only natural then, that people who are in love should have the opportunity and the right to be married legally. Legally and in the eyes of God, too. It didn't surprise me because I know that there was huge support by the little people. The people who actually do the voting for the representatives. I knew there was a huge support base at the ground level, and so no, I'm not surprised that it went so fast.

Joanne Grimstad:I think that the Democrats trying to push through this legislation, stinks. I'm not opposed if two people want to live together like that, that's their right. But I do take away the right to call it marriage, because marriage is between a man and a woman.

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Noreen Javner: It's not the way it should be, but I guess that's the way it's going to be. It's the new age and stuff. It's supposed to be male and female, but who am I to judge it? Times are changing, things are changing, people are evolving. For some it's what they want, for some it's not what they want. But what can we do about it?


John Heino: It seems like it's the last frontier in equality and non-discrimination. It's overdue, but hopefully we've figured it out. I would think just about everybody's lives are touched by this one way or the other, whether its personally or a family member or a close friend. I can't see any reason why the government should stand in the way of two people wanting to have a comittment.

Michael Hampton of Duluth
Michael Hampton, 49, of Duluth said he is in favor of same-sex marriage in the state. "If a person loves a person, it doesn't matter what gender it is, that's not for a lawmaker or a citizen to decide," he said, speaking in downtown Duluth on May 13, 2013.
MPR Photo/Dan Kraker

Michael Hampton: I believe people should be entitled to whatever choices they would like to make. If they're taxpaying citizens, if they're good people and not breaking the law, then they should be able to make that decision. What they do in their homes, personally, is none of my business, and I believe that we should mind our own business. People that care about each other -- it doesn't matter what gender it is, if a person loves a person we cannot control that. That's not for a lawmaker or a citizen to decide.

Hannah Grunzke: I'm super pumped, really excited. Truly very happy. Years ago, probably 10 or 15 years ago, I knew this was coming. And I was one of the only people I knew that said, "I think things are going to change." I didn't think it would happen this soon, so I'm really happy for everybody.


Bob Wagner: I just think marriage is between a man and a woman. I think they're trying to rewrite the definition of that. If people want to have a marriage by law, fine, but I think a lot of it is they're trying to get benefits out of being married from the government. I just think it's ridiculous and I'm just not for it.

Rev. Steve Schmit of Bemidji
Rev. Steve Schmit is an Episcopal priest at St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in Bemidji. Schmit and his church support the move toward legalizing same-sex marriage in Minnesota. He figures he will begin performing marriage ceremonies for gay couples as soon as the law takes effect in August.
MPR Photo/Tom Robertson

Rev. Steve Schmit: I'm an Episcopal priest here in Bemidji. It should have happened a long time ago. We're just thrilled to death that we're finally going to be able to have equal treatment for all people. Finally I can treat all my congregation equally. The Episcopal Church in the United States has gone on record as being completely in agreement with this. In fact, we have a liturgy for blessing same-gender unions, but not, of course, marriages. And now with this legislation we'll be able to complete that and have, I think, real equality for everybody.

Kenneth Osmonson: I don't think it's that big of a deal. If people are in love they should be able to get married. It seems like the only thing that would make it different is for tax purposes. I mean they're still together and they love each other, regardless. But it is nice to see them getting the attention they deserve. They have been shunned for a long time, and they're just people like you and me.

Henry Krigbaum: One of my main concerns is what's going to be happening with my religious freedoms. What's going to be happening to my church and the particular stances that they take?

Amy Medicine: I feel like everybody has free speech, the right to do what they want. Nobody should deny them. You ought to be able to marry whoever you love, regardless of what sex they are. My daughter's best friend is gay. He's no different to me, he has no 'gay sign' on him, he's just like everybody else.