Different states, different policies. The beauty of federalism.
Minnesota is pondering upping its legislative institution on heterosexual marraigesto a constitutional one.
A controversial bill to let voters decide whether to put a ban on same-sex marriages in the state Constitution was approved by the Minnesota House on Thursday on a vote of 77 to 56.
If the bill passes the Senate, voters in the 2006 election would consider a constitutional amendment to limit marriage or “its legal equivalent” to “only a union of one man and one woman.”
Although Minnesota law already bans same-sex marriage, the amendment is needed to thwart potential court challenges, proponents argued during a heated floor debate.
While Maine decides individuals have too muh freedom. Here come the state controls:
Gov. John Baldacci on Thursday signed legislation that protects gays and lesbians from discrimination. Within hours, a religious group launched a campaign to overturn the new law.
“This act not only offers essential civil rights, but serves as a welcome,” the Democratic governor told supporters who packed the State House Cabinet Room. “Our doors are open to all people. This is a proud day for Maine.”
The law, which received final House and Senate passage Wednesday night, takes effect in late June.
The measure amends the Maine Human Rights Act by making discrimination illegal in employment, housing, credit, public accommodations and education based on sexual orientation or gender. Maine law now prohibits discrimination based on race, color, sex, disability, religion, ancestry and national origin.
The new law will exempt religious organizations that do not receive public funds. It also makes clear the law does not condone or authorize gay marriages.
Of course, the news from Minnesota is happier than the news from Maine. Minnesota is defending the status quo, while Maine is sweepign away horizontal bonds with vertical controls. Maine’s unease with private property and freedom of association is obvious (though Augusta has yet to legalize homosexualist marriages).
But on another level, this is good news. Federalism gives voters more power because decisions are made closer to them. Minnesotans may have one future worth creating, Mainites another. This is preferable to nation-wide laws, which the left pushed a few decades ago and the right pushes now.