DFL Senator Dan Sparks (Austin) voted with the minority against hospital visitation rights.
State Senate approves health-care rights for domestic partners
Last update: April 30, 2007 – 9:46 PM
The Minnesota Senate approved hospital visitation rights for domestic partners on Monday, touching off debate over the definition of marriage.
The legislation, which passed 43 to 21, would give unmarried domestic partners the standing to visit and make health-care decisions for each other in the hospital. The bill defines domestic partners as adults in a "committed interdependent relationship" who live together.
Gay-marriage opponents painted the bill as a sneaky way of legalizing same-sex unions.
"The real purpose is to create some law that would form a basis for litigation over the constitutionality of our marriage law," said Sen. Tom Neuville, R-Northfield.
Backers characterized the legislation as a humane effort to help same-sex partners who have hit barriers during health emergencies.
An amendment that would have removed the term "domestic partners" from the bill failed 31 to 34.
A House version awaits a vote, but Neuville said Gov. Tim Pawlenty probably won't sign it.
The bill number is SF 1398
You can read the roll call vote in the 4/30/07 journal of the Senate.