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McNamar explains why he voted to allow same-sex civil marriages

Jay McNamar, DFL-Elbow Lake, represents part of Douglas County in District 12A and voted in favor of the House bill today to allow same-sex civil marriage.

He e-mailed the following explanation of his vote:

"The bill doesn't force any church to perform marriages that go against their religious beliefs. It simply allows the state to recognize the civil marriages of same-sex couples from churches that wish to perform them. I wanted to talk a little bit about the process I went through to make a decision on this bill.

"First, let me say that this was a very complicated decision. I'm a religious person. I was raised on John 3:16. As someone who spent the better part of his life teaching, I firmly believe that you should treat every person with respect no matter their race, religion, sexual orientation, or anything else for that matter. That is the basis on which I make my decisions as a legislator and as a man.

"But throughout this process, I didn't want my opinion to be the only one that mattered. The voices of my constituents are what carried most of the weight for me over the past few months. I said from the very beginning that I would make my decision based on what my constituents told me. On my very first day someone called me to talk about same-sex marriage. From there I went through emails, phone calls, surveys, letters, and in person conversations on both sides of the issue. Overall, there were 64 percent of people urging me to support same-sex marriage and 36 percent urging me to vote against same-sex marriage.

"Because of the number of constituents urging me to support the bill, and because of my personal commitment to respect everyone as equals, I voted in favor of the bill to allow same-sex marriage."