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Two west central Minn. senators take a different approach in vote on gay marriage

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WILLMAR -- Sens. Joe Gimse and Gary Kubly cast different votes and had different opinions on letting Minnesotans vote on a constitutional am-endment to ban same-sex marriage.

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The Senate voted 38-27 Wednesday to put the amendment on the ballot.

The House has not yet voted on the proposed amendment but is expected to pass it when it does.

Gimse, a Republican from Willmar, said he voted for the bill because he's a "traditionalist" who "believes in the family." He cited the 100 phone calls and emails he got favoring the amendment -- and three opposing it -- as proof that he was doing what his constituents want him to do.

But Kubly, a Democrat from Granite Falls, said some of the emails he received from people who support the amendment caused him to vote against it.

"I got some pretty strong email," he said. "One guy thought homosexuals should be stoned like they were in the Bible," said Kubly, who's concerned the hatred expressed in some of that correspondence will continue through November of 2012, when the issue is expected to be on the ballot.

"I just decided I couldn't vote for it with that kind of emotion behind some people's thoughts," he said.

Gimse said he campaigned on the issue of letting people vote on the amendment. Voting for it helped him fulfill a campaign promise. "It's time to get it on the ballot and let people vote on it."

Although Minnesota currently has a law prohibiting same-sex marriage, Gimse said having a constitutional amendment will prevent the courts from overturning it. He said there will be no negative ramifications from approving a constitutional amendment because it would just reinforce current law.

But Kubly said even if the same-sex marriage ban is approved as a constitutional amendment, it doesn't mean it will be permanent.

If that were the case, he said, there would still be Prohibition in the United States.

Meanwhile, Kubly said the DFL is frustrated there's been time spent debating issues like gay marriage and so little discussion on the budget and deficit with less than two weeks left in the session.

"So much for laser concentration," said Kubly, who said his optimism is waning that the session will end on time.

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Carolyn Lange
A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers county government and regional news with the West Central Tribune.
(320) 894-9750
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