[JURIST] The Minnesota Senate [official website] on Wednesday approved a voter referendum [SF 1308 text] to amend the constitution to ban same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive]. The measure was approved by a vote of 38 – 27, with only one Democrat joining Republicans in supporting the amendment. Minnesota law currently defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman, but proponents say that a constitutional amendment is necessary to protect against same-sex marriage being legalized by a court. The measure must now be approved by the House of Representatives [official website], where it is expected to pass. If approved, it will go before voters in November 2012.
Same-sex marriage continues to be a controversial and divisive issue through the US, although a recent poll [materials] suggests support for legalization is growing. 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].