Duluth City Council weighs in against state amendment to make gay marriage illegalThe Duluth City Council has weighed in against a proposed constitutional amendment that would make same-sex marriage illegal in Minnesota.
By: Peter Passi , Duluth News Tribune
The Duluth City Council has weighed in against a proposed constitutional amendment that would make same-sex marriage illegal in Minnesota.
In passing a resolution Monday, Duluth became the first city in Minnesota to take a stand on the issue, which is slated for a statewide referendum vote in November.
Several city councilors earlier were critical of the council taking up the matter, suggesting it was not the proper venue, but they remained silent at Monday’s meeting.
The resolution passed 6-2, with Councilors Jim Stauber and Todd Fedora voting in the minority. Councilor Jay Fosle left the meeting early and did not participate in the vote.
“Equality concerns me. It will always concern me,” said Councilor Jeff
Anderson, who co-sponsored the resolution. “This directly affects and impacts people in the city of Duluth.”
“This is about maintaining inclusive communities that will help us grow and thrive,” he said, suggesting that Duluth’s future will be brighter if people view it as a welcoming city.
After the meeting, Jim Stauber explained his opposition to the resolution.
“The good citizens of the state of Minnesota will all get a chance to vote on this. It’s a pretty simple issue, and people should be
allowed to vote. I don’t think City Council is the place to convince people whether to support this amendment or not. We’re here to conduct city business.”
On a personal level, Stauber indicated he is supportive of the amendment.
“I, for one, will not support any definition of marriage other than as a union between a man and woman,” he said.
But he said he will leave individuals to decide the issue for themselves.
“People shouldn’t be badgered by this council to vote one way or another,” Stauber said.
But speakers at the meeting all voiced support for the council taking a position on the issue.
Lynn Youngblom said her son is gay and in a committed relationship. She urged the council to support the resolution, saying: “It shows Duluth is a welcoming, inclusive community.”
Youngblom said the state is home to more than 100,000 lesbian, gay and bisexual people. “What better way is there to let them know they are welcome here and supported,” she said.
Gary Boelhower said the city has an important role to play with an important symbolic action.
“The very foundation of our society is at stake,” he said. “This amendment would put discrimination into the constitution of our state.”
Council President Sharla Gardner, who co-sponsored the resolution, contended that the city shouldn’t remain silent on important issues.
“I believe the role of city government is to be the front line of democracy,” she said.