A state representative’s pro-gay argument before a House panel in Minnesota is quickly going viral across the Internet.
Arguing against a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, Rep. Steve Simon (D-St. Louis Park) had urged members of the Civil Law Committee to vote “no” on Monday.
“We have to be careful about trying to enshrine our beliefs, however religiously valid you may believe them to be, in the Minnesota Constitution,” Simon told lawmakers, in a video uploaded by UpTakeVideo.
Gay marriage is already illegal in Minnesota, but the amendment would allow voters in the 2012 general election ballot to recognize marriage as “only a union between one man and one woman.”
With Republicans in full control of both chambers of the legislature for the first time in decades after last year’s elections, the proposed bill is highly faired to pass.
A Senate companion measure was approved 8-4 last Friday in the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee, with all Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed.
“What I’m hearing today and what I heard on Friday was largely a religious justification for change in the Minnesota Constitution. I don’t think that’s right. I don’t think that’s fair,” Simon argued.
Drawing from a testimony heard in the Senate last week by a member of the clergy, he quoted, “Sexuality and sexual orientation are a gift from God.”
“I think that’s true. I think the scientific evidence shows more and more every day that sexuality and sexual orientation are innate and something people are born with.”
“If that’s true, if it’s even possibly true, what does that mean to the moral force of that argument?” Simon posed. “To put it in the vernacular, what I would ask is how many more gay people does God have to create before we ask ourselves whether or not God actually wants them around?”
“And how many gay people does God have to create before we ask ourselves whether the living of their lives the way they wish as long as they don’t harm others, is a godly, holy, and happy, and glorious thing?”
The Minnesota Congressman believes that “the arc of history” was bending towards a more just, fair, whole, open, and compassionate society and tradition.
But Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for Policy Studies at Family Research Council, strongly disagrees with the Minnesota representative, telling The Christian Post that Simon is out of step and ignorant of the facts.
“When he said the scientific evidence shows more and more every day that people are born gay ... he is 20 years behind the times,” Sprigg responded. “Because in fact, the great project that people are born gay [though it] seemed promising in the early 1990s, has been almost thoroughly debunked by recent scientific evidence.”
“There is less and less evidence that people are born gay, and [that instead] nurture plays a stronger role than nature.”
Sprigg also shared that most Christians would say that God does not create people to engage in behaviors that God has expressly forbidden. The biblical testimony, he emphasized, is clear that sexual relations between people of the same sex are forbidden in both the Old and New Testament.
“‘The arc of history’ can only bend against the immutable realities of human biology for so long,” he stated in the context of marriage. “The fact is that it takes one man and woman to create a new, human life. Therefore, there is a public interest both in procreation and in the nurture of those children by the man and woman who created them.”
If the amendment were to pass, Simon wondered whether future generations would look back on this decision with “justifiable shame.”
“I think that the people who vote for this today and in the future, will, although their children and their grandchildren can and should be very proud of them for their service to the state of Minnesota, will on this issue not be so proud.”
“If we pass this, if we put it on the ballot, if this becomes part of our constitution, history will judge us all very, very harshly.”
Unlike Simon who felt that adopting the new bill would be a step backwards, Sprigg affirmed that these amendments were actually a “contemporary consensus of a majority of the states.”
Twenty-nine states as of January 2010 have already adopted constitutional provisions restricting marriage to one man and one woman, and all within the last 15 years or so, he mentioned.
“Therefore it’s not something that is just a vestige of some archaic belief,” Sprigg concluded.
After hours of debate and testimonies, the House committe passed the bill on an expected 10-7 party-line vote on Monday.
The bill reached the Minnesota House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee Wednesday night, the last stop before reaching the full House.