Marriage equality legislation passed out of committees in both the Minnesota House and Senate on Tuesday, advancing to full floor votes in both chambers. But on Wednesday, Republicans in the Senate attempted to use parliamentary tactics to block the bill, as Minnesota Public Radio reports:
The maneuvering began on the Senate floor, when Republican Sen. Warren Limmer objected to a routine motion to adopt a report from the Senate Judiciary Committee, which approved the same-sex marriage bill a day earlier on a party-line vote.
The objection forced a recess of the floor session and sent the matter to the Senate Rules Committee, where Limmer explained that he had received information showing the bill could cost the state $688,000 in added insurance benefits to state employees.
Not only was there nothing to substantiate this funding claim, but Republicans were actually trying to argue that by simply accepting the report from the committee, they were approving same-sex marriage itself. Here’s Senate Minority Leader David Hann (R) attempting to make sense of this tactic:
HANN: When we adopt a committee report we are in effect endorsing — and this is the quote: ‘…the statement or expressing its approval by the body’ of the substance of the report. And it has the effect of ‘expressing approval or endorsing the findings or recommendations’ of the report. So members, what we’re doing by adopting the report that is before us is we’re adopting same-sex marriage in Minnesota.
The floor hasn’t voted on the bill yet. Anybody who wishes to vote against adopting marriage equality can vote to do so when given the opportunity. Resorting to such procedural maneuvers suggests fear that of the results of that vote, and desperation to block it.
Furthermore, though a specific report has not been calculated for Minnesota yet, the Williams Institute has consistently found that marriage equality brings revenue to states, not costs. Worst of all, the argument put forth here is that Republicans don’t want marriage equality because they don’t want to extend insurance to same-sex partners. Apparently, gay people are just less deserving of basic health protections.