MN House Committee Approves Gay Marriage Bill

By KBJR News 1

MN House Committee Approves Gay Marriage Bill

May 6, 2013 Updated May 7, 2013 at 10:34 AM CDT

St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) - A bill that would legalize same sex marriage passed a major hurdle in a House committee hearing Monday night.

The House Ways and Means Committee approved the bill that would re–word Minnesota's marriage law.

Minnesota lawmakers predict a total cost of $688,000 for the health insurance benefits for the same–sex spouses of state employees.

But there would be a spike in the state's general fund.

Under the bill, Minnesota would collect nearly $190,000 in 2014 fiscal year alone in new marriage license fees.

That rate would decline to roughly $9,800 in positive impact to the state's general fund in 2015 and years after.

Meanwhile, a rally including members from Minnesota for Marriage—an organization trying stop the bill from moving forward—expressed their concerns regarding equal marriage.

A group from New York discussed their struggles when the Freedom to Marry Act was implemented in 2011.

One rally member says a she was fined for declining to host a lesbian wedding.

"I was accused of being a homophile. I was told my faith was a lie, and a cover–up for, for my hate," Rose Marie Belforti, Ledyard, NY resident, said.

"I could not sign the marriage licenses and congratulate the couples because I believed that marriage was designed, and defined by God as being between a man and a woman," Laura Fotusky, Barker, NY resident, said.

Leaders from Minnesota Management and Budget say the distribution of the marriage license fees continue in the same way they are now.

The measure also adds a provision that protects the right of religious organizations to decide for themselves whether to allow same sex marriages and that they will not be subject to fines or penalties.

The Senate also has its own version of the marriage equality bill that is still waiting on action by the full body.

The bill is now on its way to the house for a full vote.

Justin Reis, NNC.