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'Civil Marriage': Albertville's Rep. David FitzSimmons' Idea for MN Same-Sex Marriage Bill

Changing how all state laws refer to marriage would offer 'further reassurance' to religious organizations wary of being sued for not sanctioning same-sex marriages.

Minnesota state Representative David FitzSimmons (R-Albertville) will propose changing all references to "marriage" in state law to "civil marriage," according to media reports. He will propose the change as an amendment to the same-sex marriage bill set to hit the House floor Thursday.

"What this does with placing 'civil' in front of 'marriage' is that it only highlights again that this is not talking about is necessarily the marriage that's takes place in your church or synagogue," Fitzsimmons told MPR. "This bill is about the civil aspects and the government relations aspects of marriage."

Fitzsimmons' change has the support of Minnesotans United, the main organization advocating for same-sex marriage, the Star Tribune reported, and FitzSimmons has an ally in another freshman Republican on the north side of the Twin Cities, :

State Sen. Branden Petersen, R-Andover, said he supports the amendment.

Petersen is the only Republican legislator to say he will vote to legalize same-sex marriage. He said the change to “civil marriage” has been in the works for weeks to ease some Republican concern about the measure.

The wording change would provide "further reassurance that it's the state role in marriage and not the religious institutions were talking about," FitzSimmons told the St. Paul Pioneer Press, which offered this analysis:

House Speaker Paul Thissen has said he believes the 73-member DFL majority has the 68 votes needed to pass the bill as is, even without a single Republican vote.

But that would mean they would need votes from 12 of 17 non-metro DFLers seen as swing votes because their party favors legalizing gay marriage but they represent districts that voted for a constitutional amendment to limit marriages to heterosexual couples.

Steve House May 09, 2013 at 02:26 AM
I think I understand this "tactic" but really it's just smoke and mirrors and weak leadership. Bottom line: Dems won, Repubs lost. As the Dems are fond of pointing out (when they win): "elections have consequences." Let the Dems have their bill and get it passed without Repub support, and let them, presumably, lose a few of those districts that voted Yes on the amendment, instead of pretending this modification to the language will accomplish anything-- it won't. At some point, churches will still be sued if they refuse to perform gay "marriages." When will our reps begin to stand on principle instead of triangulation???
Susan Rego May 09, 2013 at 12:47 PM
Republicans should be relieved to have marriage equality taken off the table in future elections. Sexual orientation is not a left-right issue. In coming years, Republican candidates will not have to carry the burden of a party that speaks often of liberty but can't get beyond its own prejudices to vote for it. Rep. FitzSimmons is showing courage here.
Kelli Lewis May 10, 2013 at 01:54 AM
David, Thank you for your courage and leadership today. Great work! Sincerely, A fellow Republican

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