Dayton backs domestic partner benefits, opposes legalizing pot

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Gov. Mark Dayton says he plans to extend family health and dental benefits to same-sex domestic partners of Minnesota state employees.

Dayton, a gay-rights supporter, told The Associated Press in an interview Friday that he intends to make the benefits available as part of contract negotiations due to start in a few months.

Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura offered the benefits to gay domestic partners, but Gov. Tim Pawlenty removed them.

In the AP interview, Dayton also said he does not favor the decriminalization of marijuana.

The issue has become a hot topic again, after Colorado and Washington residents last month voted to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes. Many are watching to see what unfolds next, given that the U.S. Justice Department says it must enforce federal drug laws.

Americans are split on decriminalizing pot – 50 percent say no, 48 say yes – but they agree that when states vote to legalize pot, the feds should let it happen, USA Today reported.

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