Support for Domestic Partner Registry Ordinance Falters
Advocates on both sides of the gay marriage debate traded fire at the Inver Grove Heights City Council meeting on Monday.
The shadow of Minnesota's proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage loomed over the Inver Grove Heights City Council meeting on Monday night, as the council weighed the creation of its own domestic partner registry.
Citing the absence of Councilor Bill Klein, the council eventually voted 3-1 to postpone a vote on the proposed registry, a list allowing unmarried couples living in the city to formally document their relationship, regardless of their sexual orientation. Before the vote, advocates on both sides of the debate traded rhetorical fire.
"I rise in opposition of this issue, for a number of reasons," Inver Grove Heights resident Ted Trenzeluk said during a public comment period. ”Make no mistake, the main purpose of this type of legislation is that it’s a salvo in a lead-up to the marriage amendment debate that’s coming up next year. The city should not be used in a pawn in somebody else’s agenda."
Ironically, it was the appearance of a LGBT-friendly advocacy group, not the heated words of Trenzeluk or other opponents, that may have done the most damage to efforts to pass the ordinance.
Just before the meeting, a representative from Outfront Minnesota—outspoken opponents of Minnesota's proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage—handed out flyers supporting the proposed registry. They and other proponents say domestic partner registries can help committed, unmarried couples access health insurance from employers, among other benefits.
But the move caused Councilor Dennis Madden—who earlier voiced support for a domestic partner registry ordinance—to question the motives behind the creation of the registry.
"Originally, there was no question in my mind that I was going to support this," said Madden, who represents a possible swing vote on the five-member council. “If this is just a step in a complete change of our laws and the morals of our nation, then I oppose it,” Madden said.
The vote on the proposed registry will likely come at the next council meeting on Oct. 24. The council originally discussed the issue at a work session two weeks ago.
"The marriage amendment pertains only to a certain type of couple," said Councilor Rosemary Piekarski Krech, who supports the creation of a registry. "[The domestic partner registry] pertains to any couple. I know of several couples in this city who would benefit from this, would like to use it."