The Free Press, Mankato, MN

February 20, 2013

Minn. GOP legislator backing gay marriage, hopes to influence others in party


Associated Press

ST. PAUL — A Republican state senator who supports legalizing gay marriage in Minnesota says he hopes to convince GOP colleagues to join him in abandoning the party's traditional stand on the issue.

Sen. Branden Petersen of Andover says Wednesday he's a likely co-sponsor of a gay marriage bill to be introduced soon at the Capitol, as long as a few conditions are met. Chief among them, the Republican says he needs to make sure the bill leaves religious institutions exempt from performing same-sex marriages.

The Star Tribune first reported Petersen's break with his party on the issue. He's the first Republican lawmaker to signal a yes vote, a potentially significant development as gay marriage supporters look to expand their support at the Capitol since some rural Democrats may be reluctant to sign on.

Petersen tells The Associated Press he knows he might face consequences from fellow Republicans.