It passed by a 75-59 House vote and 37-30 Senate vote. Chances for a legal challenge are slim if the legislation was enacted properly, said Alison Gash, assistant professor of political science at the University of Oregon, and by all accounts, it was.
There’s no constitutional basis for overturning the law, said Tom Berg, professor at the University of St. Thomas.
“There’s no religious liberty rights to not have gay marriage recognized,” he said. “There may be religious liberty rights to not to facilitate a marriage in particular situations, but that doesn’t go to the existence of same-sex marriage.”
Both sides will be watching a U.S. Supreme Court challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. The court is expected to rule next month.
The Fargo Forum reports that clergy are working on how to handle requests for marriage. Minnesota’s new law specifically protects religious institutions that choose not to marry same-sex couples.
The Forum also reports that the Diocese of Crookston, which oversees Catholic churches throughout northwestern Minnesota, circulated a letter to members in which Bishop Michael Hoeppner expressed his disappointment with the “unwise, unjust and dangerous action taken by our elected politicians.”
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports gay marriage is not on the legislative agenda in Wisconsin. In 2006, Wisconsin voters passed an amendment banning same-sex marriage. Voters would have to pass an amendment undoing it before Wisconsin lawmakers could consider a bill to allow gay marriage.
In addition, Wisconsin Republicans control state government and the party opposes gay marriage.