Bills legalizing same-sex marriage in Minnesota passed both House and Senate committees on Tuesday and will head to both floors for votes. The committee hearings proved to be emotional from both sides of the issue, especially when Lynne Osterman, a former Republican Minnesota state representative spoke to House members. She told the committee that she regretted voting for an amendment to ban same-sex marriage in 2004.
“I didn’t come to St. Paul to single out same-sex couples and their families, but in my only term as a member, I cast a politically expedient vote in favor of DOMA, and I have regretted that ever since.”
In a tearful testimony before members of the House Civil Law Committee, Osterman said she had hoped to a serve as a “thoughtful citizen legislator,” but she was “ill-prepared for the partisanship that greeted my class.” As the Minnesota House continued to listen to testimonies about same-sex marriage, Osterman, who voted along party lines in 2004, choked back tears and urged lawmakers to avoid similar regret.
“I can tell you from experience that you will have to live knowing that a no vote is not fair, it’s not respectful and it’s not equal.” She implored lawmakers to vote for the bill. ”Get this right,” Osterman said. “Minnesota citizens just want you to lead.”
Minnesota would be the tenth state to allow same-sex marriage. If it passes the Democratic-controlled legislature, Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton has promised to sign the bill.