When this bill started in committee, not one single agency testified against it. In fact, all testimony was in favor of aligning the state’s laws to match the federal definition of marriage. However when the Senate Judiciary Committee laid down a 4-2 Do Not Pass recommendation, both sides knew a lengthy debate would be ahead.
Senator John Grabinger stated, “I do not believe it is responsible for us to risk potentially millions of dollars in taxpayer money to update, just because we refuse to update the current century code to reflect current federal law.”
Democrat John Grabinger thinks it could be an expensive mistake if the state doesn’t amend its marriage law language to match federal law.
Republican Kelly Armstrong agrees changes should be made.
He says, “Counties across the state of North Dakota, County auditors are already granting marriages to same sex couples, theres no damage to be in place.”
But a majority of senators disagree – and say there’s no good reason for state law regarding marriage to be changed.
Republican Senator David Hogue said, “Regardless of whether or not you think the 14th ammendment of the U.S. constitution contains a right to marry a person of the same gender, the bill is unnecessary and that’s why I plan to vote against it.”
One Senator said legislators shouldn’t be afraid to stand their ground.
“I do fear though personally that, in response to early comments that if we fear lawsuits, and we sell out our constitution for that fear, I think we’re in big trouble,” said Republican Janne Myrdal.
In the end, the vote was 31-15 against making changes to state law regarding marriage. The bill was then pronounced dead on the senate floor.
Though the bill failed today, there is a chance it could return if introduced by another member of the legislature.