Gay marriage rifts appear in several US states

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Politicians and campaigners in Minnesota, New Jersey and North Carolina on both sides of the same-sex marriage debate are gearing up for battle ahead of legislative sessions later this month.

Republican group Minnesota for Marriage have accused local Democratic Farmer Labor legislators of “playing politics” by proposing to block a vote on a constitutional amendment which would stop the legalisation of gay marriage.

Karen Clark of DFL, the sponsor of the bill which would block a vote on the amendment which would be open to public vote, would redefine marriage as a union specifically between ‘one man and one woman.’

Despite gay marriage currently being illegal in Minnesota, this amendment would block any bid to legalise it in future.

Clark, who is openly gay, told the media: “It’s appalling that we would try to do this kind of constitutional amendment,”

“It’s not in step with most of Minnesota. It’s a lot of time, energy and money that’s being wasted on something that will hopefully fail anyway.”

She commented on the challenge of passing such a bill in the republican controlled Legislature, but also said: “A lot of people who have had second thoughts about that amendment, who voted for it.”

Republican group MFM hit back saying that the right to vote on the ‘Marriage Protection Amendment’ “belongs to the people. John Helmberger, the group’s chairman said:

“Sixty-percent of Minnesota voters support the Legislature’s decision to give them the right to vote on the Marriage Protection Amendment,

“This small group of legislators is trying to block a vote of the people, not just the amendment.”

Senator Scott Dibble of the DFL, who is also openly gay will lead on the bill at the legislative session in Minnesota which convenes on Jan. 24.

Meanwhile in North Carolina, a group The Coalition to Protect all North Carolina Families has launched efforts to engage with 1 million families ahead of May on the damaging nature of a constitutional amendment which will ban gay marriage.

The message the group will attempt to put across further implications of the amendment, which could ‘strip basic protections from hundreds of thousands of North Carolina families.’ The group argue that the amendment reaches much further than same-sex couples and would affect domestic violence protections, personal freedoms and the economy through removal of domestic partner benefits.

The constitution in North Carolina also defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman, but supporters of a constitutional amendment argue that it isn’t concise enough.

Sara Cohen-Glaze an opponent to the permanent ban on same-sex couples from marriage rights told Fox8:

“We are in North Carolina, we live here and we’re not going anywhere and we want to be accepted,” she said. “This is government regulation on people’s lives and businesses and that’s a big deal.”

Pastor Ron Baity of Berean Baptist Church supports the ban.

“The only reason it would not pass is if those who believe the scriptures refuse to go to the polls and vote,” Baity said.

In New Jersey, a new poll shows the majority of voters in the Garden State are pro same-sex marriage.

A poll released by The Quinnipiac University Polling Institute this morning shows a majority of voters in the state are for gay marriage rights.

The figures stated that 52% of voters wanted to legalise gay marriage, whilst 42% are against the idea.

The poll questioned 1500 people over six days about their opinions on gay marriage in the state, and is the first of its kind to show more than 50% in favour of gay marriage in the state.

Poll Director Maurice Carroll described the move towards marriage equality as “inevitable.” He said: “Someone asked me if I was for or against gay marriage. It’s like being against the sun rising in the east.”