The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the Minnesota Senate has passed a bill legalizing same-sex civil marriage. As we noted on Friday, the Minnesota House of Representatives has also passed the bill.
According to the Star Tribune, only one Republican member of the Minnesota Senate voted for the bill. That Republican, Senator Brenden Petersen represents a district that voted for defining marriage as being between one man and one women in the Minnesota Constitution. Perhaps picking up on on all the "think of the children" arguments that opponents of the bill used in the Minnesota House of Representatives votes, Senator Petersen told his his kids "Be bold and be courageous and you will never regret a day in your life."
Perhaps recognizing that the arguments about bigotry and children we discussed on Friday were not winning arguments, Republican Senator Dan Hall told his fellow senators that he was praying for a miracle and that the senate would reject the bill. I imagine atheists will say that his prayers went answered because the bill passed. Others might point out that when we ask God for something, sometimes the answer is "no." Others might think that you cannot petition the Lord with prayer.
Once the power of prayer did not seem to be working, Senator Hall tried a different approach and told supporters of the bill that his concern was that if he (and presumably his fellow senators) voted for the bill he would go to Hell. Specifically, he said, "Some people have said that they are concerned about being on the right side of history. I am more concerned about being on the right side of eternity."
Senator Hall's comments about being sent to Hell over voting remind me of the street preachers I sometimes encounter while walking around downtown Minneapolis. Those folks are often talking about people are going to Hell if they don't either do something or refrain from doing something. I never see anyone that seems persuaded by that type of preaching. What do you think Mr. Torvik? Is the threat of eternal damnation persuasive argument? Obviously religion is important to a lot of people and has been for a long time. But does Hell still work as a selling point?