The Minnesota Legislature [official website] on Saturday approved adding a constitutional amendment [HF 1613, text] to ban same-sex marriage to the November 2012 ballot. The Minnesota House of Representatives [official website] voted 70-62 to approve the proposed amendment. In early May, the voter referendum received approval [JURIST report] by the Minnesota Senate [official website] by a vote of 38-27, with only one Democrat joining Republicans in supporting the amendment. Although Minnesota law already bans same-sex marriages, this constitutional amendment would ensure that the state court does not change this law. The proposed amendment will appear on the ballot asking voters: "shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?" Protesters on both sides of the issue gathered outside of the Minnesota House of Representatives for several days leading up to the vote. Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton [official website] opposes any constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage but cannot prevent the measure from appearing on the ballot.
Same-sex marriage remains a controversial issue across the US. Last month, a Montana judge dismissed a lawsuit [JURIST report] that had called for the state to provide legal status to same-sex relationships. Also in April, the Indiana Senate [official website] overwhelmingly approved [JURIST report] an amendment to the state constitution that would ban same-sex marriage or any "substantially similar" status, and the Wyoming Senate [official website] in February approved a bill that would void in Wyoming any same-sex marriages and civil unions [JURIST report] performed in other jurisdictions. Same-sex marriage is currently legal in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and Washington, DC [JURIST reports].