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Published February 09, 2012, 10:22 PM

Local law makers weigh in on same sex marriage issue

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) _ The controversial challenge to become the state's first gay married couple is re-igniting heated debate. Lawmakers in both parties are weighing in, wondering if it will come up in the next legislative session.

By: Travis Skonseng, WDAY

The controversial challenge to become the state's first gay married couple is re-igniting heated debate. Lawmakers in both parties are weighing in, wondering if it will come up in the next legislative session.

Since we first told you about that marriage challenge, our Facebook site has become quite the hot spot. Hundreds of you have joined the discussion.

Mindi says, "It's 2012, get with the program. If you don't like it, don't get one." Sandy writes, "God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve." Kris states, "The bible specifically says marriage is between a man and woman." Kirk replies, "People say gay marriage destroys the sanctity of marriage, when heterosexuals destroy it every day by committing adultery."

We sat down with two Fargo lawmakers to get their reactions. Fargo Senator Tim Mathern is a huge human rights supporter.

State Senator Tim Mathern – (D) Fargo: “Do I believe each and every person has a right to all the same things that married people have to live in happiness? Yes.”

But even he admits, gay marriage in North Dakota may be a long way away. Lawmakers are just uncomfortable tackling the controversy in such a conservative state.

Tim Mathern: “It's right around the corner where it will be a bill. Whether it's this next legislative session in 2013, I don't know.”

In 2004, voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment stating a legal union is just between a man and woman. It passed nearly 3 to 1.

State Representative Al Carlson – (R) Fargo: “It's very clear that the citizens at that point in time, and I still believe they still do value the traditional family marriage between a man and woman, and I stand behind that.”

A Forum Communications poll shows otherwise; fifty-two percent of respondents, support gay marriage.

Republican, Al Carlson is firmly against allowing gays to wed. Despite six states recognizing gay marriage and three others possibly following suit, he believes in Christian values.

Al Carlson: “The family unit is crucial to the success of our state and our nation and we maybe should get back to that.”

To overturn the ban, supporters would need about 23,000 signatures to put it on the ballot again, or two thirds majority in the legislature. The latter is not likely.

Tim Mathern: “The reality really would be that it would be decided by the people.”

Both lawmakers are not aware of anyone trying to introduce such a bill or petition.

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