Minnesota state Rep. Tim Faust (D) stood before his colleagues on Thursday and announced on the House floor that he would vote for a bill to legalize gay marriage in the state.
The decision wasn't simple for Faust, a Lutheran minister who represents a district that backed a failed amendment to ban gay marriage by a 60 percent vote last year. For months he'd been undecided, but after countless discussions, Faust explained that he could no longer oppose marriage equality.
“Well, I have to start by admitting that not too long ago, I probably would have voted 'no' on this bill, but in the past there have been a couple things that changed my mind on this,” Faust said. “The first one is, is in the last 10 years I’ve had conversations with hundreds -- and I guess now it's in the thousands -- of people about this issue, and in 99.9 percent of the time the people that are opposed to gay marriage, at some point in their discussion, they always say, 'My Bible says.'"
Faust continued: “And so if this is the reason or the rationale for being opposed to this or for why this law is currently in place, the question that keeps going through my mind over and over again, is do we as a society have the right to impose our religious beliefs on somebody else?”
Faust then went on to speak of his own recent marriage to a woman he "could not live without," saying that he'd taken his right to get married "for granted."
"There are people that feel that way about each other, that cannot live without that other person, that feel the same way they do about each other that I feel about my wife, and yet because of religious beliefs of other people, they do not have the right that I have taken for granted," he said, his voice welling with emotion. “Today we have the opportunity to give a part of our population, fellow brothers and sisters of God, the same rights."
Faust voted yes on the bill, along with 74 of his colleagues. It passed by a vote of 75 to 59 and now heads to the state Senate, which will consider the bill on Monday. Senate leaders expect it to pass there, too, and Gov. Mark Dayton (D) has pledged to sign it into law.