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Pro and con arguments on gay marriage

ST. PAUL — The basic argument about whether to pass a proposed constitutional amendment about marriage centers on whether same-sex marriages should be allowed.

Even though passing the amendment would make no immediate change since Minnesota law already outlaws gay marriage, amendment supporters say they want to give the man-woman marriage definition more protection by putting it in the state Constitution.

Here are some arguments for and against gay marriage, gathered from and the two sides in the Minnesota debate.

For gay marriage

-- Government should not dictate a definition of marriage, love should.

-- The U.S. Constitution protects gay marriages by giving providing rights to liberty and equality.

-- Without marriage, when a partner in a gay relationship dies or faces serious health issues, the other partner often is locked out of important decisions.

-- A partner often cannot receive insurance benefits as part of a family plan without marriage.

-- Same-sex marriage couples do as good a job of raising children as straight ones.

-- Allowing the marriages would provide gay couples an easier path to adopting children.

Against gay marriage

-- Children need a mother and a father.

-- Many religions define marriage as between a man and a woman, with the main purpose of producing children.

-- Professionals and businesses, even religious organizations, could risk government sanctions for not treating gay couples like straight couples.

-- Making same-sex marriage legal would encourage schools to teach it as being equal to straight marriage.

-- If gay marriages are allowed, could polygamy and other nontraditional relationships be far behind?

-- Tax money should not be used to support gay marriages via marriage tax credits and other methods.