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Editorial: Take same-sex marriage issue to public

It remains to be seen whether same-sex marriage will be legalized in Minnesota during the current legislative session, but we think the effort to do so is a misplaced priority.

After all, even though there's no budget in place yet, there has already been plenty of legislative time spent on an issue that is by no means as urgent as others. Of course, this effort to move same-sex marriage forward can be seen as a direct result of two things -- the defeat last November of a constitutional amendment that would have more or less permanently banned gay marriage in the state, as well as election results that gave Democrats control of the House and Senate. Those facts, though, should not necessarily translate into passage of a proposal many in the public may not favor.

Voters' actions last fall, after all, by no means affirmed their support of legalizing gay marriage, despite what its advocates may want folks to believe. Rather, voters rejected a change in the constitution, one that many on both sides of the gay-marriage debate didn't feel was necessary or warranted.

Momentum to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota may well be growing. Why not coordinate a statewide vote on the issue -- for, say, this November -- just to see how much it has grown? That way, no matter the results (legalization, or not), it can't be said that a particular political party was responsible. The outcome, too, would be able to be seen as truly representative of Minnesotans' feelings.