Republican Might Back Marriage Equality Bill in Minnesota

The married father of two is considering signing on as co-sponsor of a marriage equality bill in Minnesota.

BY Lucas Grindley

February 21 2013 1:55 PM ET

Branden Petersen and his family

When a marriage equality bill is introduced in Minnesota, it could come with a Republican co-sponsor.

If state Sen. Branden Petersen does as he said publicly this week, it would be only the second time a Republican anywhere in the country had sponsored marriage equality legislation, according to Bloomberg News.

“At this point, I am concerned about doing the right thing,” Petersen told the Star-Tribune, which broke the news this week.  “I have a certain amount of peace about that, and I will let the chips fall where they may.”

Petersen had voted with Republicans who put a failed marriage equality ban on the ballot, so his co-sponsorship would be a personal evolution on the issue. He told Bloomberg that his support is contingent on relgious exemptions being included, as they have been in a series of other states, including New York.

Minnesotans United for All Families cheered the news. LGBT activists "hope to see more Republicans in that state follow his lead,” said Tyler Deaton of the Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry in a statement. “In Minnesota and across the country, Republicans are coming to the conclusion that marriage is a basic freedom that should not be denied to some simply because of who they are."

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