Here is the full text of Senator Dan Hall's speech on the Senate floor 5-13-13:
There’s a lot of celebrating going on today but there’s also a lot of grieving going on today. Grieving because there are many people in the state who do not believe this is the right thing to do. I sometimes call this the divine tension. Our constitution has protections for religious freedom—not to protect the government from religion.
I have six key points I’d like to state.
First off, marriage exists to bring a man and a woman together as husband and wife, to be the father and mother to any children their union produces.
Second, marriage is based on truth that men and women are complementary. The biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, the reality that children need both a father and a mother—which one would you not have wanted. Marriage is society’s least restrictive means of assuring the well-being of children. Marital breakdown weakens civil society.
Government recognizes marriage because it benefits society in a way that no other relationship does. Government can treat people equally and with respect and respect their liberty without redefining marriage. Redefining marriage would further distance marriage from the needs of children and deny the importance of mothers and fathers. It weakens monogamy, exclusivity and permanency, the norms to which marriage in our society [inaudible] and it will threaten religious liberty.
I know that, Madam President, you do not allow us to pray in the name of Jesus or the holy spirit while we’re up there, but I ask that the holy spirit be with all of us today in this capitol around Minnesota during this vote. Today we may be changing the course of freedom for our children and our grandchildren in Minnesota. We may be forced to not just listen to someone else’s view—but to accept and then legislate and next, I believe, we will be forced to believe what we don’t.
I have been accused of attacking same-sex marriage because I disagree with the lifestyle. When has disagreeing become an attack? When has taking a stand against something you believe in become a personal attack? Freedom can only be free if we keep our moral compass. If we resolve to strengthen marriage instead of dismantling it. Without strong morals, that which we believe is right or wrong, we lose our freedoms.
Redefining marriage, which has many restrictions—you can’t get married if you’re under 18 without parents’ permission; only two people can get married, not three, not more—is opening that Pandora’s box. If you think marriage, the way it is now, is discriminating, why not add another group? That’s what we’ve done, we’re still discriminating, if that’s what you believe, unless we open it up to all.
But they’ll call me a bigot, they’ll call me a hater, they’ll spit in my face, like they did a friend of mine last Thursday. There are things in life, members, that are worth standing up for, even to be persecuted for.
Many have said to me, ‘Sen. Hall, you don’t understand. You’re married, live in a nice suburb, you’ve got kids, live in a nice house, two-car garage, you’re well educated.’
Most of you don’t know I grew up in the southeast projects, 71 Saint Marys [Avenue] by the U of M. Many of my relatives were addicts, criminals, two sent to prison, more than one child molester. Those that my mother tried to keep us away from were relatives. My mother raised four children in the projects but had an alcoholic husband that she divorced when I was six years old.
Two years later, she married another, my stepfather who also was a drunk. When he was home, we tried not to be. When I was 12 my mother told him, “You either get on your knees and accept Jesus and have him take over your life and stop drinking or there’s the door, don’t ever come back.’ He did that that day, our life changed, that was a turning point in my history. My father did this 48 years ago today. He’s now in a nursing home, my mother still lives on Lake Nokomis.
But the change of history is like what we’re doing today. It will forever change the fate of family.
I have family members on both sides of this issue. All of us are not perfect and all of us carry baggage from the past and our families. All have sinned, all have faults, I certainly do. I sin every day. This is not about that. It’s about what’s good for children. The children here in Minnesota. It’s about making the right choice for children’s future. The question is: Are homosexual marriages good for children? Are we as members in this chamber going to change the course of history? As to what the adults, we the caretakers, the public policy holders, leaders of Minnesota—what we think is right for children.
Back to marriage. Marriage is about giving, not taking. It’s about being willing to serve another, giving your affection to no other and, spiritually, marriage is about two becoming one in God’s eyes. A civil union is having a contract to protect yourself from the other that may take advantage of you and legally securing the government and civil benefits that have been reserved for marriage. There are consequences to everything. There will be unintended and, I believe, intended consequences.
Members, God has written his word on your hearts: Don’t legislate what you think personally is wrong. Choose life and life abundantly. Dismantling marriage will bring hurt, shame, confrontation and more indoctrination. Forcing others to give you your rights will never end well. It won’t give you the recognition you desire. That which is right can easily be seen by all. Let me say that again: That which is right can easily be seen by all.
Is this easy for you? Most people know this is not right. You asked for this job, members, when you ran for office. Leading is not easy. Are you still looking for an excuse to vote for it? I’m not giving you that today. I’m here to affirm true beliefs that come from your relationship to your creator.
Do you really want what Europe has? They’re on the verge of civil disaster. Some have said, ‘But don’t you want to be on the right side of history?’ The truth is I’m more concerned about being on the right side of eternity.
In conclusion, let me say this: My desire today is to bring more peace, more justice to all of Minnesota. I propose that we vote “No” on this bill and that we propose a more loving document that will more clearly and more distinctly allow the freedom that both communities would desire.
Don’t fool yourself today and think voting yes on this bill ends the conversation. The great people of Minnesota deserve better than this. This document will bring civil disobedience.
This document will split our schools, our churches, our towns, our counties, our state. It will hurt businesses and confuse children. More than any single issue has ever done since the civil war.
This bill needs to be crafted in such a way that it will not push civil rights back 50 years but bring our communities together. Please think about the devastating repercussions this vote will have on our communities. We must not pass this bill but, rather, we must take one more time to craft a truly bipartisan bill that respects the values of all Minnesotans and where no one feels they’re being shoved into an unwanted world, no one feels their religious liberties are being taken away.
Members, today you must choose who you will serve. May God help us.