Self-identifying 24-year-old Republican Madeline Koch’s testimony before the Minnesota Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety concerning GOP plans to enact a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage has gone viral on the Internet, with her statement that equal rights should not be a partisan issue the main focus.
During her testimony, Koch, a young woman who self-identifies as straight and with no overt stake in the marriage amendment beyond her party’s choice of direction, said the amendment would be a misstep for the GOP:
“I’m here today because I would like to give you my perspective and the perspective of most people I know who are a part of my generation, political party and sexual orientation on why adding a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage is not only wrong on a moral front but also takes our party in the wrong direction for future generations of Republicans. I don’t believe that equal rights for same-sex couples — or anyone — is a partisan issue.”
Koch’s testimony came during a three hour hearing on the bill on Friday.
The bill was advanced by the panel in an 8 to 4 party-line vote. The measure now goes before the 11-member Senate Rules and Administration Committee.
Minnesota already has a statutory ban on same-sex marriage, but a constitutional amendment would likely ward off court intervention overturning the ban.
Republican leaders, who are in control of both legislative chambers, have openly said they aim to fast-track the proposed amendment to put it before voters on the 2012 ballot. Legislative rules mean that the Democratic governor has no veto power, so this will likely come down to a test of both campaign strategy and public opinion.
Testimony delivered Monday by Representative Steve Simon (DFL Hopkins/St. Louis Park) in which he asked “How many gay people does God have to create before we ask ourselves whether or not God wants them around?” has also received a lot of attention. Watch here.