Posted at: 02/27/2013 7:17 PM
Updated at: 02/27/2013 7:27 PM
By: Katie Eldred
Bill Introduced to Legalize Gay Marriage in Minnesota
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- A bi-partisan bill was unveiled Wednesday that would legalize marriage between same sex couples in the state of Minnesota.
The legislators that introduced the bill say that November's no vote on the marriage amendment was their sign that Minnesotans have spoken. That it proved this year is the year to legalize same sex marriage.
It's an announcement many Minnesota same sex couples have been waiting to hear for years.
"Right here in my home state of Minnesota where I pay taxes and we raise our children, we are legal strangers," said Rabbi Michael Latz.
Senator Scott Dibble and representative Karen Clark introduced the same sex marriage bill Wednesday to a crowd that included several same sex couples and their children.
"It would simply allow folks who so desire to get married even if they are same sex couples," said Sen. Dibble.
For Jake Loesh of Minnesota united, which fought to defeat last year's amendment that would have banned gay marriage, this bill is the ultimate reward for all of its work.
"It's surreal and it's a real statement of where we've come from as a state, we've been involved in this conversation for several years," said Loesh
Minnesota representative Steve Simon says an important part of the bill is that it would not "force" any churches or institutions to wed same sex couples.
"So that communities of conscious and others in Minnesota who may disagree with this bill won't be compelled to do anything," said Rep. Simon.
While many of the families' children took center stage at Wednesday's news conference. The couples are hopeful their love for each other will send a message to legislators.
"Minnesota has a chance to change this, our legislators have a chance to do the right thing," said Latz.
The bill will officially be introduced in both the house and the senate Thursday. If it passes, there could be same sex weddings in Minnesota as early as this August.
Republicans also held a press conference Wednesday to speak out against the bill.
Representative Steve Drazkowski said this bill is disappointing.
“It’s an aggressive approach really going after something that is a fundamental part of our culture,” said Rep. Drazkowski.
A national group against gay marriage has vowed to defeat and Republican that supports the bill.