Lambda Legal Celebrates Minnesota Marriage Equality

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May 13, 2013
Lambda Legal Law and Policy Project Director Jennifer C. Pizer

The Minnesota Senate voted 37-30 today to grant same-sex couples the freedom to marry. 

The measure now goes to Gov. Mark Dayton, who said he will sign it into law tomorrow.

Jennifer C. Pizer, Lambda Legal's Law & Policy Project Director, worked with Minnesota advocates on the substance of the marriage bill. She released the following statement:

Today, Minnesota has shown the nation the meaning of the words "fairness" and "momentum." In just six months, Minnesota has gone from facing and rejecting a marriage discrimination ballot measure that many assumed would pass, to emphatically passing this affirmation of the freedom to marry and the value of all families in the state.

We congratulate the many people and organizations who worked very hard on this bill, including Project 515, OutFront Minnesota, and Minnesotans United for All Families. After Governor Dayton’s promised signature of this bill into law, we will continue to work shoulder-to-shoulder with all Minnesotans to ensure that this law is implemented smoothly. We also will continue our partnerships with Minnesota advocates to ensure that businesses and licensed social services agencies are not permitted to turn people away based on sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity or other discriminatory grounds.

Pre-existing Minnesota law and some new language in the marriage bill give religious organizations in the state much broader permission to discriminate than is allowed in other states. This discrimination can be very harmful. Businesses and agencies that provide essential services to those who are most vulnerable should serve everyone without discrimination. This means that religious organizations that choose to run a business to make a profit, or that provide licensed social services to the general public, should have to follow the same rules as everyone else engaged in those activities.

Minnesota's tremendous success in allowing all couples to celebrate their love and commitment through marriage is in keeping with the state's great traditions of freedom and fairness. Today’s passage of this bill is another big step forward, and Lambda Legal will stand firm with our Minnesota allies in the continuing fight for fully equal treatment of LGBT families in "Land of 10,000 Lakes."

Lambda Legal is grateful to the Anita May Rosenstein Foundation for partially funding the work of the Law and Policy Project.