The group, Minnesotans United for All Families, is shifting roles from a group that worked to defeat a constitutional amendment to a group that will lobby for the legalization of same-sex marriage. The organization, which successfully defeated a proposed constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage as a man and a woman in Minnesota, will now form to lobby on behalf of legalizing same-sex marriage in Minnesota. The group's spokesman, Jake Loesch, says they will be sending an e-mail to supporters today announcing the change.
"All of this is initial planning and we're just starting to communicate and put all of our plans together." Loesch said. "But the goal of the organization will be to make 2013 the year that we secure the freedom to marry for all couples in Minnesota."
Same-sex marriage is expected to be a hot topic in the Minnesota Legislature this year as advocates push to remove the state's Defense of Marriage Act (which defines marriage as a man and a woman in state law) and allow same-sex couples to marry. Supporters say the vote in November is a signal citizens would support such efforts.
But opponents of same-sex marriage are already lining up to defeat the legislation. John Helmberger, who is the CEO of the Minnesota Family Council and chairs Minnesota for Marriage, sent an e-mail to supporters today saying he doesn't think there's support to pass the amendment.
"First, understand that the defeat of the marriage amendment was not an endorsement of gay marriage," Helmberger wrote. "Far from it. The amendment was defeated by a narrow margin. And, it passed in 75 out of 87 counties across Minnesota. That means that legislators did not receive a mandate from their constituents to redefine marriage."
Gov. Dayton said he would sign legislation that legalized same-sex marriage in Minnesota. DFL legislative leaders, who will take control of the Legislature in January, suggested it would not be a top priority for them. They say they may wait until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the issue next year.
Since when does the number of counties that vote for anything or any person have any relevance? Since a majority of the counties in this country are rural, conservative, and lightly populated, I would imagine a majority of the counties in the USA have voted GOP since about 1968. But since we determine votes either by popular majorities or the electoral college (president), the "number of counties" that voted for something is about as relevant as the eye color of the voters.
@ Mike -- it matters, because populated locations like the metro don't get more power than rural places. We had a greater margin of No votes in the metro, but their legislator still only gets one vote on this, just like the rural legislators only get one vote. This ensures that when passing legislation, the entire state has equal say on this issue, instead of simply being overpowered by highly populated areas. The statement about counties is irrelevant. What he should have looked at is legislative districts. Each district gets one rep, and one vote. That is the crucial margin to watch for.
Equally important, it should be noted that this really means that the conversation, as was promised in the past election, really will continue across the state. All Minnesotans should understand the importance of implementing marriage equality. As those conversations continue, it will be harder for the state to insist on codifying discrimination. And it may be that the legislators take the safe way out and wait to see what the Supreme Court decides to do. Most experts say it will be a close vote there with one or two swing votes either way. If you've been following the cases that have made their way to SCOTUS, you already know that they are carefully crafted, one lower court opinion supporting full equality being written by one of the most conservative judges in America. Should be an interesting couple months.
Thanks for the Civics 101 lesson, AJ, but I get it. Legislative districts are a function of population; that's why there are far more of them in the metro. I'm on your side, but please understand that most people are intelligent. I know what legislative districts are and how they work. I specifically mentioned "counties," because that's the irrelevant word Helmberger used in the article.
That statistic on counties gets used a lot, I think, because it's a number that was easy to come by post-election. The SOS website provides the data by county and by precinct, so until someone does some spreadsheet or database juju, you have to interpolate between the two to get to the numbers by legislative district.
The point still stands that, while the amendment failed, there are still a lot of people who were in favor of banning same-sex marriage in the constitution, and a good chunk of those people sent legislators to the capitol who may be inclined to vote in favor of marriage equality.
I bet I'm not the only one who told Santa that I want marriage equality for Christmas!