Minnesota House passes bill that grants same-sex couples the right to make end-of-life decisions

As posted by Jason Hoppin on twincities.com:

"A bill giving same-sex couples the right to make end-of-life decisions and file wrongful death suits is headed to Gov. Tim Pawlenty's desk.

"Married couples already have those rights under Minnesota law. But absent the freedom to marry, a group known as Project 515 — named for the number of Minnesota laws the group says discriminates against unmarried, committed couples — has been advocating to expand the rights of same-sex couples.

"'This is a very strong vote,' Ann Kaner-Roth, executive director of the group, said of the 78-55 vote in the Minnesota House. 'We know that a majority of Minnesotans support equality for all Minnesotans.'

"The Senate passed a version of the bill last year, but still must concur on the House vote. It is considered a technicality before the legislation moves to the governor's office.

"Pawlenty's position on it is unknown, but he signed another Project 515 bill last year that protects the homes of surviving same-sex partners from being sold to cover state medical bills.

"The debate in the House expanded into a debate about the freedom to marry, but the bill survived. It includes the right for a surviving partner to decide what to do with the deceased partner's body. It also allows suing responsible parties should the partner be killed.

"'This legislation eliminates two of the 515 Minnesota laws that discriminate against committed couples,' said Rep. Erin Murphy, a Democratic-Farmer-Labor legislator representing St. Paul."

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