The Civil Law committee in the Minnesota House approved legislation tonight that would legalize same sex marriage.
The 10 to 7 party-line vote, with Democrats for and Republicans against, followed a similar 5 to 3 party-line vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier in the day. House Republicans questioned why Democrats were spending time on the divisive issue. But Rep. Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, said Republicans forced the issue when they put a constitutional amendment on the ballot last year that would have banned same-sex marriage.
"This was not an issue that Democrats running for office and Democrats wanting to take back the majority went out and raised as an issue," Hortman said. "It was an issue raised by Republicans, put on the ballot, and now the issue is before us. I think the question has been called on equal rights."
The results of the failed constitutional amendment last November varied by geography. Much of rural Minnesota voted for it. Rep. Peggy Scott, R- Andover, took note of those geographic differences, as well has the membership of the Civil Law Committee, which is dominated by metro area lawmakers.
"In some of these rural areas, the marriage amendment passed 60 percent or more," Scott said. "I just don't want us to get ahead of ourselves here in this committee, because we have a large diversity of people in our membership, and they represent people too."
The full House and Senate will now vote on the marriage issue later this session. DFL leaders have said those votes must wait until budget bills are completed.(0 Comments)
DFL Gov. Mark Dayton hosted a private breakfast this morning with Archbishop John Nienstedt and Catholic Bishops from around Minnesota, but according to the governor, they did not spend a lot of time discussing same-sex marriage.
Nienstedt was a leading supporter of last fall's failed campaign to amend the state constitution with a ban on same-sex marriage. Catholic leaders are now lining up against the proposed legislation to legalize gay marriage in Minnesota.
"We didn't talk at all about the amendment, and we really didn't talk about the law or its prospects or anything like that," Dayton said.
Dayton said only aspects of the issue came up, including a concern about being punished for applying their religious principles. On other issues, he said the archbishop and bishops expressed support for a minimum wage increase and more funding for families on public assistance. Dayton said he also heard concerns about the impact of proposed anti-bullying legislation on private schools.
"They think they're doing a better job of preventing bullying in their schools," he said. "They think some of the requirements that are being written into the legislation now would be undully prescriptive and restrictive."
A hearing on a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota is expected to be held next week.
Rep. John Lesch, DFL-St. Paul, who chairs the House Civil Law Committee, said he intends to hold a hearing next Tuesday or Wednesday. Lesch said he expects the hearing to be extended into the evening to ensure that the public has ample opportunity to testify.
"My intent is to get all of the proponents and opponents on a list," Lesch said. "I will take proponents and opponents alternatively."
Lesch also said next week's hearing will be the only committee stop in the House. And even though the legislation has received plenty of media scrutiny, Lesch said he doesn't expect any fireworks because the issue received plenty of attention during the last election year.
"It's not one of those bills that came out of the blue upon which everyone have to get organized," Lesch said.
Voters defeated a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage last November.(7 Comments)
Policast, Feb. 27, 2013:
The state Senate author of a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota predicted that the proposal will pass with bipartisan support.
DFL Sen. Scott Dibble of Minneapolis he's optimistic despite the fact that there hasn't yet been a hard count of supporters in the Legislature.
"My sense is that we have the momentum and we're in a strong position," Dibble said on MPR News' Policast. "But it's going to be a lot of hard work."
Although most supporters of the same-sex marriage bill are Democrats, at least a few prominent state Republicans have also backed the bill. The press conference by supporters to announce the bill Wednesday was attended by former Republican State Auditor Pat Anderson.
The legislation is also co-authored by Sen. Branden Petersen, R-Andover, who voted last session to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
"I think the partisanship of this is diminishing dramatically," Dibble said. "A number of colleagues who regretted their vote to put this on the ballot last session are now looking for an opportunity to amend that vote and now vote yes for something that's positive."
The National Organization for Marriage pledged earlier this week to spend half a million dollars to defeat Republicans in the state who vote for a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, but Dibble dismissed their effort.
"The level of political risk and downside has diminished to the point of non-existence," Dibble said. "The National Organization for Marriage and their ham-handed, threatening manner, are engaged in a self-defeating strategy there."
Dibble said he believes the electorate has already shifted on the question of same-sex marriage.
"For the most part, people just don't have the intensity of feeling that they used to have around this because they're sure that nothing bad is going to happen and only good things are going to happen in people's lives," Dibble said. "I think they're just ready to settle this issue and move on."
The legislation would repeal the state's Defense of Marriage Act and reaffirm that no church will be forced to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies.
If the bill passes in its current form, Dibble said same-sex couples in Minnesota will be able to marry starting on Aug. 1.
Policast is a daily roundup of Minnesota political news. The entire interview with Sen. Scott Dibble can be heard in the Wednesday, Feb. 27 episode. National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown appeared on the Feb. 26 episode.(1 Comments)
Legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota will be announced Wednesday during a State Capitol news conference.
Formal introductions of the bill in the House and Senate will come a day later. An advisory from the group Minnesotans United said the bipartisan legislation will be co-authored by Sen. Branden Peterson, R-Andover. The chief authors are Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, and Rep. Karen Clark, DFL-Minneapolis. Both chief authors will speak at the Wednesday news conference, along with religious leaders and families.
The push for legislation follows last November's defeat of a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. DFL Gov. Mark Dayton has said he would sign a bill that legalizes same-sex marriage into law if it landed on his desk.
Supporters of the effort gathered in the Capitol Rotunda two weeks ago for a rally to launch their campaign to get legislation passed this session. Opponents of legalizing same-sex marriage are planning a rally March 7.(0 Comments)
Policast for Feb. 26, 2013:
In a week where a bill legalizing same-sex marriage is expected to be introduced at the state Capitol, National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown said GOP lawmakers who support it will face electoral repercussions.
"We are committing a half a million dollars to the effort to support Democrats who support traditional marriage and to oppose Republicans who betray principle and their constituents," Brown said on MPR's Policast on Tuesday.
Brown said NOM's effort is a reaction to "big-money lobbyists" supporting same-sex marriage who have been "promising financial support and also threatening" Republican lawmakers across the country.
Republican leaders in both the state Senate and House have said they won't take any action against lawmakers who vote in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. Sen. Branden Petersen, R- Andover, has said he'll likely support a bill when it's introduced.
Brown said his group wants Petersen's constituents to know the stance he's taken.
"All we're doing is making sure that those constituents know what Mr. Petersen and others have done," Brown said. "And if he chooses to support same-sex marriage, I'm very confident, given that his constituents actually did support the marriage amendment, that he won't be re-elected."
NOM spent about $2 million trying to pass a constitutional amendment that defined marriage as between one man and one woman in Minnesota. Voters rejected the amendment in November.
Overall more than $18 million was spent on the amendment campaign. Opponents spent more than $12 million while supporters spent about half that.
"The campaign was won by simply telling lies," Brown said. "One of the lies was that there was no threat of same-sex marriage, that's now coming home to roost."
Brown said his group supports another push for a constitutional amendment defining marriage in Minnesota.
"Clearly, Minnesota needs a constitutional amendment. The reality is that without it, judges could redefine marriage," Brown said. "In Minnesota, unfortunately, the amendment did not pass. But you still need an amendment; we will still push for it."
On Wednesday's Policast, we'll hear from a supporter of legalizing same-sex marriage in the state.
Policast is a daily roundup of Minnesota political news. The entire interview with National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown can be heard in the Tuesday, Feb. 26 episode.(3 Comments)
After an inquiry prompted by complaints from Republican lawmakers, Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles has concluded that Minnesota does not have a clear standard to assess the actions of two state officials accused of using public funds to oppose constitutional amendments on the ballot last November.
Nobles released a letter today that he sent to Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, last month detailing the findings of a preliminary assessment. Newman, who was a chief sponsor of the voter ID constitutional amendment, accused DFL Secretary of State Mark Ritchie of wrongly using his official capacity and public funds to oppose that ballot question. Similar accusations were later leveled against Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey, who publicly opposed voter ID and the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
In the letter, Nobles noted that state law only goes so far on prohibiting certain political activity by public officials and employees.
"It does not establish a clear standard for determining whether it would be legal (or illegal) for a state official or employee to use public money or other public resources to support or oppose a proposed amendment to the constitution," Nobles wrote. ""However, there is legal precedence in Minnesota and other states to support the view that public money and other public resources should not be used to support or oppose a proposed amendment to the constitution once it is approved by the Legislature and becomes a ballot question."
Nobles said the Legislature could clarify the issue by establishing a specific prohibition in state law.
Nobles also quoted from the responses he received from both officials. Ritchie denied that he or his office worked against the voter ID amendment.
"When providing educational information in response to citizens inquiries about the proposed changes to Minnesota's election system, staff and I refrained from taking a position urging voters to support or defeat the amendment," Ritchie wrote.
Ritchie's office provided Nobles with an estimate of $28,492 spent on preparing materials related to the amendment and responding to citizen inquiries.
Lindsey, on the other hand, acknowledged working against both amendments with public money and resources, and declared that it was his job to do so. The commissioner said he was authorized under the Minnesota Human Rights Act to fight amendments that are "discriminatory" and "threaten to undermine our democracy." Lindsey submitted documents to Nobles showing the department spent at least $6,000 to oppose the amendments.
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.(5 Comments)
Posted at 8:54 AM on November 9, 2012
by Elizabeth Dunbar
Filed under: Campaign 2012, Campaign 2012: Minn. House Races, Campaign 2012: Minn. Senate Races, MN Legislature, Marriage Amendment
It didn't take long after the election results came in for opponents of the marriage amendment to announce their intentions to take the next step — make same-sex marriage legal in the state. The DFL now controls both the House and Senate plus the governor's office.
But will legislators in districts where the amendment passed back legalization? It turns out, many of them are DFLers.
An analysis of the marriage amendment vote shows that many DFL lawmakers represent districts that voted yes, and sometimes overwhelmingly so. In fact,
18 17 DFL House members and 10 DFL senators are in districts where the amendment, which would have defined marriage as between a man and woman, passed with 50 percent or more of the vote.
It's also true that many Republican lawmakers are in districts where the marriage amendment failed: 22 in the House and eight in Senate. But it's likely DFLers would feel more pressure to support a same-sex marriage legalization bill because it would be their party proposing it. Only
two four Republican lawmakers voted against putting the marriage question on the ballot.
Several other states have legalized same-sex marriage through legislation. The first was Vermont in 2009. Same-sex marriage became legal there when the Legislature overrode the Republican governor's veto.
Vermont House Speaker Shap Smith, a Democrat, said in an interview that he doesn't think DFL lawmakers representing conservative districts on the marriage issue would be voted out of office for supporting same-sex marriage legislation.
"We did not see real blowback as a result of our representatives voting for the override who were in conservative districts," he said.
Smith acknowledged that other states that have legalized same-sex marriage, including New Hampshire, did see Democrats lose seats in 2010, but he attributed that to a good election year for Republicans and not the marriage vote.
"The country is shifting very quickly on this issue. People realize that whether you're gay or straight, you should be able to marry who you want, and in some ways it's a conservative principle that people should want to get married," he said.
Smith said he's looking forward to watching the marriage debate continue to unfold in Minnesota. "I think it would be exciting if Minnesota passed a marriage equality bill," he said.
But at least one newly elected Minnesota House member isn't ready to commit to supporting an effort to make same-sex marriage legal. Joe Radinovich, a DFLer from Crosby, beat out his Republican opponent in a district where voters approved the marriage amendment by nearly 63 percent of the vote.
Radinovich said he publicly opposed the marriage amendment during the campaign. But is he ready to take it a step further?
"I don't want to anticipate what legislation may arise," he said Thursday, adding that issues including education and the tax code are top of mind.
UPDATE: Newly chosen DFL Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk spoke on MPR's The Daily Circuit today. He said the "no" vote on the marriage amendment doesn't mean Minnesotans want to legalize same-sex marriage.
"I think what the electorate was telling the Legislature is, 'Don't go pass constitutional amendments to get around a governor.' You know, it was already against the law in Minnesota, there was no reason for a constitutional amendment, and I think most Minnesotans didn't feel that amending the constitution with those kind of provisions — social provisions — was a proper use of the constitution," he said.
Bakk said the state's budget — not policy issues — will be the priority in the upcoming legislative session.
What DFL lawmakers are in districts where the marriage amendment passed? Check out the maps below. Their districts are in light blue. Republican lawmakers in districts where the marriage amendment failed are shaded pink.
In the days leading up to today's election, hundreds of thousands of dollars have poured into the two constitutional amendments on this year's ballot.
A recent poll shows that Minnesotans are divided on a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between one man and one woman, as well as an amendment that would require voters to show photo identification at the polls.
The extra money arrived after groups opposing and supporting the marriage and voter ID amendments filed their last reports with the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, and the dollars underscore just how much attention the two questions have been getting.
The marriage amendment, a proposal that would ban same-sex marriage in the state constitution, attracted the most last-minute dollars.
Donors gave Minnesota for Marriage, the group in support of the amendment, nearly $1.3 million in the final days of the campaign. Roughly 42 percent of that came from the National Organization for Marriage, which has supported similar constitutional amendments around the country.
That brings Minnesota for Marriage's pre-election fundraising total to more than $5 million since the start of 2012.
Meanwhile, amendment foes Minnesotans United for All Families brought in an extra $811,000 in recent days. High profile donors include New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who gave $125,000 to the group and liberal donor Alida Messinger, who gave $200,000.
That brings Minnesotans United for All Families' fundraising total for the year to about $10.6 million.
Money flowed to groups supporting and opposing the voter ID amendment, too.
Out Vote, Our Future, the primary group opposing the proposal, has made nearly $340,000 since the last finance reporting deadline, bringing its annual total to nearly $3 million.
ProtectMyVote.com, the primary group that support the amendment, brought in an additional $35,000 for a yearly total of $1.5 million.
A new poll out just days before the election shows that majorities now oppose both constitutional amendments on Tuesday's ballot.
Public Policy Polling (PPP), a firm linked to Democrats, says 52 percent of Minnesotans will vote against the proposal to define marriage as between one man and one woman in the state constitution, while 45 percent will vote for it largely because of a generational divide between the state's oldest and youngest voters.
A majority of seniors support the amendment, but every other age group opposes it, according to PPP. Roughly 62 percent of people under 30 say they will vote against the proposal.
Meanwhile, 51 percent of Minnesota's voters say they'll oppose a constitutional amendment that would require voters to show photo identification at the polls while 46 percent will support it. Democrats and Republicans are equally opposed to the amendment, with Democrats shifting to oppose the amendment in the last few months.
The survey, which was conducted between Nov. 2-3 of 1,164 likely voters, has a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.
PPP also looked at the presidential race and found President Barack Obama leading by 8 percentage points in Minnesota. Obama has 53 percent support here while Mitt Romney has 45 percent.
Those numbers reflect most other recent polls that give Obama a comfortable lead here, but they contradict a recent story line that Minnesota is in play for Republicans, one bolstered by last-minute visits from each campaign.
Today, Romney running mate Rep. Paul Ryan will hold a rally at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport and Obama surrogate Bill Clinton will be visiting St. Cloud.
With MPR's Tom Scheck...
Bob Koss, a Senate Republican staffer who lobbed expletives at Republican state Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, last night over Twitter, is out of a job.
"Bob Koss is no longer an employee or employed by the Minnesota Senate," said Senate spokesman Steve Sviggum.
Sviggum would not say whether Koss had been fired or whether he had left voluntarily.
The Star Tribune's Rachel Stassen-Berger documented the online altercation. It started when Koss wrote, "Just saw the @johnkriesel gay marriage ad. Really glad the RINO will be leaving the legislature. #mnleg & good riddance."
Kriesel decided months ago not to run for a second term. He was among a few Republicans who opposed a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between one man and one woman.
Kriesel, who lost both his legs fighting in Iraq, was recently featured in an ad created by a group that opposes the amendment.
In the ad, Kriesel said that it was his experience there that shaped his views about the amendment, which would effectively ban same-sex marriage.
Update: GOP Sen. Joe Gimse told Forum Communications that Koss was fired.
Update: It looks like Koss has deleted his Twitter account.
Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie is calling on newspapers throughout the state to help inform voters about the two constitutional amendments on the ballot this year.
Ritchie sent a letter asking editors to dedicate space to print the actual text of the two proposed amendments, one defining marriage as between one man and one woman, and the other requiring photo identification in order to vote.
"Traveling throughout the state over the past few months I have talked to many Minnesotans who did not know that the actual language of what is being proposed by the Legislature to be added to our state's Constitution will not be printed on their ballot," Ritchie wrote. "This seems odd to many voters given the importance of the Constitution as our state's highest law."
Ritchie also noted that the Legislature used to pay to have the full text of what they were proposing printed in every newspaper. He said he will try to convince lawmakers to re-establish the practice.
"But for this year we have a problem," he said. "It is very hard to find out what is being proposed without spending quite a bit of time on the Internet."
Republicans have claimed Ritchie is inappropriately campaigning against the amendments. Two GOP senators recently filed a complaint with the Office of Administrative Hearings accusing him of multiple violations of state campaign law.(2 Comments)
Groups on both sides of the marriage amendment debate are getting a last minute infusion of cash from groups outside of Minnesota.
The Human Rights Campaign, a national group that represents lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, announced today that it has invested an additional $200,000 in Minnesota to defeat the amendment, which would change the state constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
So far, the Human Rights Campaign has invested $1 million in the state to help pay for things like door-knocking and phone-banking to rally opposition to the amendment, according to the group.
Simultaneously, Freedom to Marry, another national group that opposes the Minnesota marriage amendment, announced today that it has raised an additional $500,000 to invest in Minnesota and three other states that are facing their own amendment battles.
That brings the group's total direct investment to $4.5 million since 2011, according to the group. An additional $2.4 million has been spent by Freedom to Marry to persuade voters in states like Minnesota to oppose the amendment on Election Day.
Meanwhile, the National Organization for Marriage, a group that's been working with pro-amendment group Minnesota for Marriage, said earlier this month that a generous, undisclosed donor had agreed to match chip in $2 for every $1 the group raised for a total of $3 million.
The National Organization for Marriage has been helping Minnesota for Marriage by sending out emails and donating voter mailing lists to the group, according to finance reports.(7 Comments)
Public Policy Polling, a North Carolina firm linked to Democrats, says opposition to two proposed constitutional amendments has grown since the firm last polled on the issues.
The poll of 937 likely voters in Minnesota between Oct. 5 - 8 finds that a growing number of people are opposed to a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between a man and a woman, and a constitutional amendment that would require people to present photo identification to vote.
The poll found that 49 percent of those polled are opposed to the amendment to ban same-sex marriage while 46 percent support it and 5 percent say they're not sure. One percent of those polled say they won't vote on the amendment. The 50 percent threshold is critical because supporters need a majority to amend the constitution.
"The marriage amendment in Minnesota continues to look like a toss-up," wrote Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. "Voters are very closely divided on the issue."
Meanwhile, support for the so-called Voter ID amendment has dropped from previous polls. The measure still is supported by a majority of those polled (51 percent) but support has dipped seven percentage points since a June poll. Forty-three percent of those polled oppose the amendment, while 6 percent say they're not sure.
PPP will release data on the race for president tomorrow. The group tweeted that President Barack Obama is polling better in Minnesota than he did in the September poll. Several national polls, including one conducted by the Pew Research Center, signal that Republican Mitt Romney has picked up ground on Obama and now show the race as tied nationally.
DFL Sen. Al Franken and DFL Gov. Mark Dayton got positive marks in the poll. Forty-nine percent of those polled approve of the job Franken is doing in the U.S. Senate. Fifty-three percent approve of the job that Dayton is doing as governor.
Critics will argue that the poll is weighed too heavily towards Democrats. The poll found that 38 percent of those polled identify themselves as Democrats, 29 percent identify themselves as Republicans and 32 percent identify themselves as independents or other. The margin of error is +/-3.2%.
Read the full results here.(2 Comments)
Posted at 3:23 PM on October 2, 2012
by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Marriage Amendment
The state's campaign finance watchdog has cleared Minnesota for Marriage, an organization backing a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman, of a complaint that the group did not adequately disclosed its donors.
The case goes back to last February, when Common Cause-Minnesota asked the state Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board to investigate whether Minnesota for Marriage had listed all its donors on its 2011 finance report.
The Common Cause complaint centered on the fact that Minnesota for Marriage (MFM), which is a special committee set up by the Minnesota Family Council to raise and spend money in support of the marriage amendment, has a vast membership and therefore should have reported more than seven individual donors its 2011 report.
"Either MFM's support is startlingly weak, contrary to its claims of broad-based support... or MFM violated the campaign finance laws by failing to report required contributor information or by redirecting contributors to an intermediary organization for the purpose of avoiding required disclosures," the initial complaint argued.
The campaign finance board's investigation involved a review of Minnesota for Marriage's bank records, and found that the group reported all its deposits accurately.
At the same time, the board declined to investigate a second claim in the Common Cause complaint that Minnesota for Marriage was redirecting contributions to other organizations that support the amendment.
"To assert that an association's activities do not pass 'the smell test' is to acknowledge that the, complainant has no actual evidence but, rather, relies on suspicion as the basis for the complaint," the board concluded. "Suspicion alone is insufficient to compel a Board investigation."
Minnesota for Marriage, a group working to pass a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, announced today that it will start running TV ads in support of their efforts. The group said the two ads are a part of a series of ads that will be run during the final weeks of the campaign.
The first ad focuses on the history and tradition of marriage. The second ad warns that the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman is under threat by the courts and the Legislature.
Both ads focus on giving the voters a say on the definition of marriage.
"It determines that only voters can determine the definition of marriage in the future," one ad says.
"Everybody has the right to love who they choose but nobody has the right to redefine marriage," Minnesota for Marriage Spokeswoman Kalley Yanta said in the other ad.
It isn't yet known where the ads will run or how much money the group intends to spend on the campaign.
The state already has a state law that defines marriage as between one man and one woman but supporters of the marriage amendment say the constitutional amendment would forbid the courts from throwing the law out on constitutional grounds.
Frank Schubert, the campaign manager for Minnesota for Marriage who has designed ads for several marriage amendment votes across the country, issued a fundraising e-mail to supporters emphasizing that voters should be the ones to define marriage.
"The amendment secures our historic definition of marriage as one man and one woman in the Minnesota constitution where it will be protected from tampering by state judges and politicians. That means that the only way to alter it in the future is to present the issue to voters for a decision," Schubert wrote in the fundraising e-mail.
Schubert also noted in the e-mail that Minnesota for Marriage has not raised as much money as opponents of the constitutional amendment.
"Right now we have very little cash left, because we've spent funds needed to get these initial two TV ads on the air," he wrote.
Groups working to defeat the marriage amendment say defining marriage in the constitution would end the conversation as to who has the legal right to be married. They say a constitutional amendment would make it harder for younger generations to determine how marriage should be defined in the future.
Minnesotans United for All Families, which opposes the amendment, released this statement from its Campaign Manager Richard Carlbom:
"The proposed constitutional amendment would limit the freedom to marry for some Minnesotans just because of who they are it permanently singles out and excludes gay and lesbian couples from the love, commitment and responsibility that marriage brings. We all agree that marriage is important, which is why we wouldn't want to deny this basic freedom to any loving, committed couple. There are churches on all sides of this debate. This amendment mixes religion and politics in our constitution. The best thing to do is to take government out of this debate. In fact, passing this amendment would permanently end the conversation for the next generation of Minnesotans.(6 Comments)
"By voting no, Minnesotans are practicing a deeply held value of treating others as they would want to be treated because no one wants to be told it's illegal to marry the person you love."
Minnesota for Marriage, a group working to pass the constitutional amendment which would effectively ban same-sex marriage, reported raising $1.195 million between Jan. 1 and Sept. 25. The group has raised a total of $2 million this election cycle.
"Our latest report reveals that our 2012 donor contributions nearly doubled in only two months' time since the July report," John Helmberger, Minnesota for Marriage chairman said in a statement.
The Minnesota Catholic Conference is the main contributor to the organization. The lobbying arm of the Catholic Church donated a total of $600,000 in 2012. The Minnesota Family Council donated $250,000 for the year. Another major donor is Mary Joanne Feltl, who owns a Minneapolis brokerage firm. She donated $100,000 to the group.
Minnesota for Marriage is the main group organizing to pass the amendment to define marriage in the state Constitution as between one man and one woman. The group's fundraising lags Minnesotans United for All Families, a group working to defeat the amendment. That group reported raising more than $8 million this election cycle. Helmberger said in Minnesota for Marriage's press release that his group isn't deterred by the fundraising disadvantage.
"We are confident that as we continue our final outreach effort, the voices of the majority of Minnesotans will speak louder at the polls than the amount of money wasted in a futile attempt to convince people that men and women are interchangeable, and the Marriage Amendment will pass on Nov. 6th," Helmberger wrote.
One of the biggest contributors to Minnesotans United For All families is The Alliance for a Better Minnesota (ABM), which is funded by labor unions and several wealthy DFL donors. ABM contributed $182,000 to the group.
Posted at 10:33 PM on September 25, 2012
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Marriage Amendment
Minnesotans United for All Families announced tonight that it raised $8.2 million to defeat the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
The group announced it raised $2.5 million since it filed its last campaign finance report in July.
"We are incredibly proud of the support Minnesotans are showing for our efforts," said Richard Carlbom, Campaign Manager for Minnesotans United said in a statement. "Real Minnesotans would be hurt by this amendment, including thousands of families who are being devalued by supporters of the amendment. Minnesotans know this amendment is wrong, and they're making a personal investment in the efforts to defeat it."
The group raised a total of $5.96 million in 2012.
Minnesota for Marriage, the group organizing to pass the amendment, has yet to release its fundraising figures. It announced earlier today that it started paying for "Vote Yes" billboards.
Political candidates and groups are required to file their campaign finance reports today.
The information will be posted on the Campaign Finance Board's website at 8am.
DFL Congressman Tim Walz is urging Minnesotans to vote against a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage. Walz appeared at a St. Paul news conference with several other veterans to urge opposition to the amendment. Walz said veterans fought and died to protect the right for Americans to be free, and the marriage ban should not be in the state constutution. Walz also said he supports repealing the federal Defense of Marriage Act and allowing same-sex couples to marry.
"At this point it's become very clear that limiting the rights of a subsect of the population, whether they are veterans or not, is simply unconstitutional," Walz said. I think we can do better."
Both sides are working hard to boost voter turnout around the marriage amendment. Supporters say it's needed to preserve traditional marriage between a man and a woman.
Former Governor Jesse Ventura is speaking out against both constitutional amendments on the November ballot. Ventura recorded a video message earlier this month speaking out against a proposed amendment that would ban same-sex marriage. He also told a group of people at Macalester College that he opposed a proposed amendment that would require people to present photo identification to vote. He told MPR News he felt the amendment was aimed at reducing voter fraud that he says isn't there.
"It's clearly being done to disenfranchise poor people, immigration people, whoever. And you notice who sponsors it? The people who don't normally get those people's votes are the big sponsors of Voter ID. It sounds good on the surface but it sucks."
Supporters of the voter ID amendment argue it's needed to ensure integrity in the state's election system.
Ventura made his comments during a rally for presidential candidate Gary Johnson, who is running as a Libertarian.
Ventura also said the same-sex marriage debate is an issue of civil rights. He said he believes the constitution should protect an individual's rights.
"It should not be on a ballot for the public to make that decision because you're asking a majority to make a decision that affects a minority," Ventura said. "If they allowed that, we'd probably still have slavery."
If the measure against gay marriage goes into the constitution, Ventura said it's unlikely he'd continue to live in Minnesota.
Ventura did speak in favor of a constitutional amendment on the federal level. He said he would favor an amendment that says corporations do not have the rights of individuals and money is not free speech.
"This decision by the Supreme Court is going to be the downfall of our country," he said.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporations and unions can spend unlimited money to influence political campaigns.
Here's Ventura full speech at the Johnson rally: Listen(4 Comments)
The Minnesota Campaign Finance Board is standing by its decision to grant anonymity to a person who made a donation to a group working to defeat a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage.
The board heard a complaint on the ruling today from Teresa Graham, who argued that there isn't clear and convincing evidence that the donor would lose his job with the Catholic Church if his name was made public. The board ruled the donor can stay anonymous but Graham argued the law should be the same for everyone. She said more than 30 other people associated with the Catholic Church contributed to groups on both sides of the ballot initiative and are identified in campaign finance reports.
"I think everybody should be treated the same," Graham told the board. "If this was a political action group that was supporting the amendment and someone came forward from the Unitarian Universalist Church, who has been very public in supporting it, and said they were concerned about losing their job, I'm not sure the outcome would be the same."
Several board members objected to Graham's comments and said they examine every issue on its merits. It's likely that Graham's complaint will be heard by the Office of Administrative Hearings.
Gary Goldsmith, executive director of the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board, said individuals are entitled to privacy in some instances. He called the exception unique.
"This isn't going to be a slippery slope. We have one person in a unique position with a unique employer that feels a threat to their employment. We haven't seen others so I don't think there is a risk of this ballooning into many requests."
But Goldsmith said that the group working to pass the amendment has also inquired as to whether a possible donor could remain anonymous.
Minnesota voters are split on the marriage amendment, according to a new poll from the Democratic-leaning firm Public Policy Polling (PPP).
Roughly 48 percent of the 824 likely Minnesota voters surveyed say they support a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman, while 47 percent oppose it - well within the poll's 3.4 percentage point margin of error.
"It looks like Minnesota's marriage amendment will go down to the wire," said Dean
Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. "Voters in the state are very closely divided
in their attitudes about it."
According to PPP, public opinion has narrowed on the subject since June, when the firm found that 49 percent of Minnesota voters opposed the amendment compared to the 43 percent who supported it.
Other polls tell a different story. A survey released this week by KSTP/SurveyUSA shows that 50 percent of Minnesotans favor the amendment while 43 oppose it.
PPP also asked questions about an amendment to the state's constitution that would require voters to show identification on Election Day, and found that it's likely to pass. About 56 percent of Minnesotans favor the amendment while 39 percent do not. Republicans and independents overwhelmingly support the ballot initiative.
Meanwhile, KSTP/SuveryUSA's found 62 percent of Minnesotans support the ID amendment, while 31 percent oppose it.
Other poll highlights:
- Forty-eight percent of Minnesotans approve of the job Gov. Mark Dayton is doing while 37 percent do not. He leads a generic Republican opponent in 2014 by 13 percentage points.
- However, Democrats lead a generic state legislative ballot by only 3 percentage points, a much tighter margin that the 12 percentage point lead the party had in June.
- Sen. Al Franken, who is up for reelection in 2014, has a 49 percent approval rating and leads a generic Republican opponent by 6 percentage points. Franken would lead former Sen. Norm Coleman and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty by 7 percentage points in a head-to-head match-up, and would lead Rep. Michele Bachmann by 12 percentage points.(7 Comments)
You can add Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota to the mix of organizations working to defeat two constitutional amendments on the ballot this fall.
The group has created two political funds it will use to work against the marriage amendment, which seeks to define marriage as between one man and one woman, and the voter ID amendment, which would require voters to show photo identification at the polls.
While the two issues may not appear to overlap with Planned Parenthood's mission, government and public affairs director Timothy Stanley said the two ballot initiatives are important to the people Planned Parenthood works with.
"We work in coalitions with all these groups every day, from doing combined outreach to vulnerable communities that need health care, to working in political coalitions with groups that are fighting for LGBT rights right along side our fight for women's health care."
Planned Parenthood's board of directors has passed resolutions opposing the two amendments, Stanley said.
Rather than raise money for Minnesotans United for All Families, the primary group working to defeat the marriage amendment, and Our Vote Our Future, the main organization working to defeat the voter ID amendment, Planned Parenthood plans to use its own staff and resources to campaign specifically on those two amendments.
Stanley said that Planned Parenthood will be phoning, mailing and using social media to "make sure that people who support Planned Parenthood know that we are standing alongside the communities that are affected by these two amendments and we are calling on our supporters to vote no on these amendments."
A KSTP/SurveyUSA poll out yesterday shows that both amendments have enough support to pass.
But on the marriage amendment, Minnesotans United for All Families is winning the money race raising more cash than those working to pass the amendment, according to recent finance reports.(5 Comments)
On Election Day, Minnesotans will decide whether to change the state's constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
Minnesota for Marriage is the leading organization in the state rallying support for the amendment. Regularly, it posts brief videos on its website that highlight aspects of the marriage amendment debate.
The most recent video looked at how legalizing same-sex marriage could affect Minnesota's children. In the video, host Kalley Yanta said:
"When same sex marriage was imposed by the courts in Massachusetts, for example, second-graders were taught in public schools that boys could marry other boys."
Some Massachusetts schools are teaching same-sex marriage as part of their diversity curriculum, but there's little evidence that the practice is widespread. And the defeat of the Minnesota constitutional amendment would not in and of itself legalize same-sex marriage in the state.
Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage in 2004. And while the law didn't change rules about what should be taught in schools, Massachusetts schools have been the subject of multiple ads, including this spot that aired in California when voters there were deciding in 2008 whether to legalize same-sex marriage.
It is possible similar ads will be broadcast on Minnesota's airwaves this fall.
To support Minnesota for Marriage's statement, spokesman Chuck Darrell pointed to a 2006 federal lawsuit brought by two couples against employees of the Lexington, Mass., school district. The parents contended teachers provided or read books to their children that featured same-sex couples, and that such teachings went against their religion.
The suit was dismissed because parents don't have a constitutional right to dictate what is taught in a public school, said the judge's decision. The plaintiffs appealed the decision in the U.S. Appeals Court of Massachusetts, but lost.
Teaching same-sex marriage is allowed in Massachusetts schools.
Since 1993, Massachusetts law has required the Board of Education and the Commissioner of Education to develop curriculum standards meant to foster respect for gender, cultural, and racial diversity.
As a result, the state's education department has developed curriculum framework that, in part, encourages schools to teach students through fifth grade about different types of families and the concepts of prejudice and discrimination. And 5th grade students, for instance, should be able to define sexual orientation using the proper terminology, according to the framework.
But education department spokesman Jonathan Considine stresses that the state does not dictate specific lessons or books taught in Massachusetts' schools, nor is there a statewide mandate that schools teach about either same-sex or opposite-sex marriage.
Rather, curriculum decisions are made by the districts and the individual schools, and some schools have incorporated same-sex marriage into their lessons, Considine said.
The Lexington Public School District is an example. District superintendent Paul Ash said that prior to the 2006 lawsuit, books that featured same-sex couples were read in school because the district was committed to creating an inclusive environment for all children.
"It wasn't just about gays," Ash said. "It was ethnic diversity, racial diversity. The core value of this district is that we want our curriculum to reflect the way our community looks."
Today, the district has an entire curriculum around diversity that includes talking about same-sex marriage. But Ash said Lexington, a liberal town in a relatively liberal state, is in the minority. He points out that no other legal complaints have been filed since 2006.
"It's a non-issue," Ash said.
Kris Mineau, the president Massachusetts Family Institute, a group that opposes same-sex marriage, says that same-sex marriage is being taught widely in Massachusetts' public schools.
"All the school libraries have materials promoting same-sex marriage and homosexuality, and all the teachers are given full latitude based on their personal orientations to discuss it with their students," Mineau said.
Mineau couldn't say exactly how many schools are teaching same-sex marriage, but sent a list of 14 examples. However, the list doesn't demonstrate a regular, formal same-sex marriage curriculum; four examples refer to the 2006 court case and four are based on anecdotal evidence.
Finally, there's a fundamental difference between same-sex marriage in Massachusetts and the amendment Minnesota voters are considering: if the Minnesota marriage amendment is defeated, same-sex marriage will still be illegal in the state. And approving or defeating the amendment has no bearing on what's taught in Minnesota schools.
It's true that some Massachusetts schools are teaching kids about same-sex marriage in lessons about diversity. The Lexington School District is among them, though it did not start those lessons because the decision to legalize same-sex marriage required it as Minnesota for Marriage's statement implies.
But there's no evidence that same-sex marriage is taught throughout Massachusetts, and the state doesn't require such curriculum.
Further, though Minnesota for Marriage points out that same-sex marriage could be taught in schools if the practice is legalized, that's not what Minnesota is debating right now. Voters are choosing to define marriage in the state's constitution. If the amendment is defeated, the state's ban on same-sex marriage - or what's taught in schools - will not automatically change.
Minnesota for Marriage's claim is misleading.
Minnesota for Marriage, Marriage Minute: "What kind of issues would children face if marriage is redefined?" July 17th, 2012
Baptist Press, Massachusetts 2nd-grade teacher reads class 'gay marriage' book; administrator backs her, by Michael Frost, April 20, 2006
MassResistance, Children's book portraying homosexual romance and marriage -- read to second-grade class by teacher, accessed July 20, 2012
MassResistance, PARENTS OUTRAGED: Second-grade teacher (in David Parker's school!) reads "modern fairy tale" to class on homosexual romance and marriage!, accessed July 20, 2012
David Parker et al. vs. William Hurley et al., Memorandum and Order, , February 23, 2007
List of same-sex marriage teaching examples in Massachusetts provided by the Massachusetts Family Institute, July 19, 2012
Chuck Darrell, spokesman, Minnesota for Marriage, July 19, 2012
Kris Mineau, president Massachusetts Family Institute, July 19, 2012
Laura Barrett, spokeswoman, Massachusetts Teachers Association, July 19, 2012
Dr. Paul Ash, superintendent, Lexington Public Schools, July 20, 2012
Jonathan Considine, spokesman, Massachusetts Department of Education, July 19, 2012(3 Comments)
Thomson Reuters is the latest company to announce that it's opposing Minnesota's proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
In an e-mail to employees, the highest two ranking executives headquartered in Minnesota (Mike Suchsland, President of Thomson Reuters Legal, and Rick King, COO, Technology) wrote that the amendment would hurt their ability to attract employees to work in Minnesota. Thompson Reuters is headquartered in New York and Westlaw, formerly West Publishing, is a subsidiary in Eagan.
"We believe the Minnesota Marriage Amendment, if passed, would limit our ability to recruit and retain top talent," the e-mail said. "For this reason, we do not believe that the Amendment would be good for Thomson Reuters or the business community in the state."
Thomson Reuters has 7,900 employees in Minnesota. In the e-mail, company officials also noted that the company's position is a "business decision" and that "as a news organization, Thomson Reuters is dedicated to upholding our Trust Principles and does not advocate political or religious positions."
The company's announcement comes just weeks after General Mills announced that it would oppose the amendment. It has also sparked a debate over whether the amendment would hurt or help the state's business climate.
"Today's historic announcement by Thomson Reuters shows that, more and more, companies in Minnesota are standing up and saying that this hurtful amendment is not in the best interests of businesses, families or the state of Minnesota," Richard Carlbom, executive director of Minnesotans United for All Families, said in a statement.
Minnesota for Marriage, the group campaigning to pass the amendment, has also been working to counter the argument that the amendment would hurt Minnesota's business climate. The group issued a press release yesterday noting that nine of the ten business friendly states in a recent CNBC study of America's Top State for Doing Business, have amendments in the constitution that ban same-sex marriage.
"The claim that the passage of the Marriage Protection Amendment will hurt Minnesota's economy is a complete myth," said John Helmberger, Chairman of Minnesota for Marriage. "If anything, the opposite is true. The CNBC study is yet another in a string of studies that consistently show states with a marriage protection amendment in their constitution are among our top performing economic states."
The campaign over whether to amend the state constitution to define marriage as between "one man and one woman" is expected to be fierce. The constitution will be amended if a majority of those voting in November's election vote yes on the ballot question.
Here's the e-mail from Thomson Reuters officials:
From Mike Suchsland and Rick King: Responding to questions on the Minnesota Marriage Amendment
We're writing today to respond to questions we have received from employees about an important issue that we are facing in Minnesota.
Some of you have asked if Thomson Reuters has a point of view on the Minnesota Marriage Amendment, which voters will decide on this November. As you probably know, the question Minnesotans will vote on is whether our state constitution should be amended to limit marriage
to one man and one woman.
As we've heard from employees, recruiters and customers, one thing has been very clear: we're a better place when we have a rich variety of perspectives, talents, backgrounds, lifestyles and experiences in our workplace, and within the broader community from which we recruit. We
believe that building a culture that thrives on diversity and inclusion and provides equal opportunities to everyone is a critical factor in our ability to serve our customers and be successful.
We believe the Minnesota Marriage Amendment, if passed, would limit our ability to recruit and retain top talent. For this reason, we do not believe that the Amendment would be good for Thomson Reuters or the business community in the state. It's important to note that as a news organization, Thomson Reuters is dedicated to upholding our Trust Principles and does not advocate political or religious positions. Rather, our perspective on the Amendment is a business position.
Our view on the Amendment is also in keeping with our company's long-standing history of supporting diversity initiatives and promoting social justice in our local and global communities. Thomson
Reuters does these things because they support our core values and, in the end, we believe they are good for business.
We know that there are varying points of view on the Amendment and we encourage each of you to express your individual opinion at the polls. Thomson Reuters is a business that values open dialogue, and we know that this communication may generate some discussion. It's an issue that is full of emotion for many, so please remember to honor our tradition of treating all people fairly and with respect - whether your conversations are in person or online. We know you will.
All the best,
Posted at 3:06 PM on June 28, 2012
by Tim Pugmire
Filed under: Marriage Amendment
DFL Secretary of State Mark Ritchie has come up with a new ballot title for the Republican-backed constitutional amendment on same-sex marriage.
Ritchie announced today that the title will read "Limiting the Status of Marriage to Opposite Sex Couples." He sent a letter to the state attorney general, who has approved the wording. GOP sponsors of the amendment, which passed in the 2011 session, wanted it titled, "Recognition of Marriage Solely Between One Man and One Woman." But Ritchie said state law allows him to make changes.
"The statute says that we provide that title," Ritchie said. "If the Legislature wants to change the statute, they have to get that changed in the normal method. So, passing the law and then getting the governor's signature."
Ritchie's office said Gov. Mark Dayton invalidated the original legislative title when he vetoed the underlying bill. But that largely symbolic veto could not keep the constitutional amendment off the ballot.
A group campaigning to amend the state's constitution to ban same-sex marriage and the GOP endorsed candidate for U.S. Senate say someone hacked into their Facebook accounts to write posts on the same-sex marriage issue.
Andy Parrish, deputy campaign manager for the group Minnesota for Marriage, said someone also made unauthorized posts to the group's Twitter account, He said on Facebook someone posted an Old Testament verse saying the penalty for homosexuality is death.
"Minnesota for Marriage would never advocate for anybody being put to death," Parrish said. "We strongly believe that anybody is entitled to love whomever they want to love. We don't have a position on that. We just have a position on whether marriage in Minnesota should be redefined."
Parrish said he's working with Facebook to see who hacked into his account.
The alleged hacking comes a day after Minnesota for Marriage organized a protest outside of General Mills to criticize the company's opposition to the amendment.
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kurt Bills campaign said its Facebook page was also hacked in the past 24 hours. The unauthorized posting said Bills opposes the marriage amendment. Bills' campaign manager Mike Osskopp said Bills actually supports it.
"This particular post caught our attention because it's not a subject we're talking about," Osskopp said. "We're talking about the fact that our economy is in trouble. So we immediately went onto the site and rectified it and pulled the post down, and we now resecured it and hopefully it won't happen again."
Osskopp said he'll contact the Minnesota Attorney General's office to investigate the matter.
It's unclear if the two incidents are related.(10 Comments)
About fifty people protested outside of General Mills headquarters in Golden Valley today to speak out against the company's opposition to the proposed constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage in Minnesota. Chuck Darrell, with the group Minnesota for Marriage, said he believes General Mills should stay out of the debate.
"The purpose of the rally is to send a message to General Mills and all Minnesota companies that marriage matters to a majority of Minnesotans," Darrell said.
The group will be holding similar protests each of the next three days. Organizers asking supporters to deliver their General Mills products to a local food shelf.
John Ruiter from Edgerton, Minnesota drove two hours to attend the protest. He said he's no longer buying General Mills products.
"Here's a huge corporation that's making a statement that's actually favoring a minority of people," Ruiter said. "The majority of the people that do business with General Mills, and they are families, with children. As far as I'm concerned, we won't buy any of their products anymore."
It's unclear whether the protests will have any impact on General Mills' bottom line. The Fortune 500 company had $15 billion in sales worldwide in 2011.
General Mills spokesman Tom Forsythe declined to answer questions but released a written statement saying the company acknowledges the strongly held views on all sides of the amendment debate.
"We respect and defend the right of others to disagree," Forsythe said in the statement. "But General Mills has worked to create an inclusive culture for our employees for decades. As a Minnesota-based company, we believe it is important for Minnesota to be viewed as inclusive and welcoming as well."
The debate over the proposed marriage amendment is expected to be one of the most contentious in this year's campaign.
MPR's Heather Beckius contributed to this report...
Minnesota for Marriage, the primary group backing a state constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between a man and a woman, has raised roughly $588,000 this year, according to a new finance report.
That's far less than the $1.4 million the group said it had raised yesterday in a press release. It appears that figure refers to the total amount the group has collected since it launched its campaign last year, not the cash it has raised since Jan. 1 of this year.
The largest donation of $400,000 came from the Minnesota Catholic Conference Marriage Defense Fund, an organization that has been collecting money from various diocese and Knights of Columbus groups.
The Minnesota Family Council Marriage Protection Fund kicked-in $150,000 and the National Organization for Marriage donated $15,000.
Twenty-six individual donors donated the rest of the money, giving as little as $25 at a time or as much as $2,500.
Unlike Minnesotans United for All Families, the primary group opposing the amendment, Minnesota for Marriage reports no donations from prominent individuals. Minnesotans United for All Families has collected thousands from members of Gov. Mark Dayton's family as well as several Minnesota CEOs.
The marriage amendment appears to have divided at least one well-known Minnesota family. A Prairie Home Companion creator and host Garrison Keillor gave $250 to Minnesotans United for All Families while his brother, Steven Keillor, who lives in Askov, Minn., and is a professor at Bethel University, gave $500 to Minnesota for Marriage.
Since the start of the year, Minnesota for Marriage has spent $533,000, with more than $100,000 going to firms associated with Frank Schubert, a strategist who was instrumental in passing California's Prop 8.
The group has also paid Civis Communications more than $34,000 for consulting. Civis is owned by Robert Cummins, one of the state's most generous conservative donors.
A group opposing a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman has raised $3.1 million since it last reported its finances in January.
Minnesotans United for All Families, a group formed solely to defeat the proposed change to the state's constitution, has collected more than $4.6 million since the campaign started last year with roughly 85 percent of those dollars coming from donors in Minnesota.
"What this report shows is that the conversation we are having across this state is working, and that more and more, Minnesotans are coming to the conclusion that limiting the freedom to marry for same-sex couples is not how we do things in Minnesota," said Richard Carlbom, campaign manager for Minnesotans United for All Families, in a press release.
Groups opposing and supporting the marriage amendment must submit their latest fundraising report to the state Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board by the end of the day.
The donations came from more 16,000 individual donors, with nearly 14,800 of them from Minnesota. Roughly $2.8 million of the group's $3.1 million total came from Minnesota, while $289,358 came from out-of-state donors.
Minnesota for Marriage, the primary group supporting the constitutional amendment, says it raised $1.4 million, but has so far provided few details. The complete numbers will be available on the campaign finance board's website tomorrow morning.
Minnesotans United for All Families has attracted some big-name support, including Gov. Mark Dayton, who is hosting a gay pride reception today.
Indeed, the Dayton name is spattered throughout the finance report. Dayton's sons Andrew and Eric earlier this month pledged $200,000 in matching funds. According to the report, the two contributed more than $25,000 each to the group, and other members of the Dayton family donated as well.
Meanwhile, William Messinger, the current husband of Dayton's ex-wife Alida Messinger, donated $10,200 to the cause.
Alida Messinger, the daughter of John D. Rockefeller III, is a prominent liberal donor who played an instrumental role in getting Dayton elected in 2010. Minnesotans United for All Families received a donation of $15,000 from the Rockefeller Family Fund; Eric Dayton serves as one of the fund's trustees, according to a 2010 federal tax document.
Prominent Minnesota CEOs also donated to Minnesotans United for All Families. Cargill CEO Greg Page gave $1,000, General Mills CEO Ken Powell gave $10,000 and St. Jude CEO Daniel Starks gave $5,000. The latter two companies have publicly said they oppose the amendment.
Meanwhile, members of the Pohlad family gave more than $300,000 combined.
At the last fundraising reporting deadline in January, groups opposing the amendment had so far raised $1.2 million and groups that support the amendment raised a total of $1.3 million.
UPDATE: Here's a statement from Minnesota for Marriage Chairman John Helmberger:
"We are thankful for the strong support of the people of Minnesota in our effort to preserve marriage as the union between one man and one woman in our State Constitution. Our opponents are raising money from same sex marriage activists across the country, and although we have always expected that they will outspend us, as marriage protection opponents have in every other state dealing with this issue, we are confident that the people of Minnesota will come together to raise the resources necessary to win and not let our state's definition of marriage be defined by activist judges or liberal out of state organizations. We don't have to match our opponents spending; we only need to mobilize people who believe marriage should be protected. We have the people of Minnesota on our side, and we remain confident of victory."
LISTEN: Reporter Sasha Aslanian talks about this story on All Things Considered.
The groups lining up in support of and against a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage are reacting to the announcement by General Mills CEO Ken Powell that the company will oppose the amendment.
General Mills Vice President Ken Charles wrote on the company's blog that the company values inclusion.
"While General Mills doesn't normally take positions on ballot measures, this is a business issue that impacts our employees. I am proud to see our company join the ranks of local and national employers speaking out for inclusion. We do not believe the proposed constitutional amendment is in the best interests of our employees or our state economy - and as a Minnesota-based company we oppose it. We value diversity. We value inclusion. We always have ... and we always will."
The move was quickly praised by Minnesotans United For All Families - a group working to defeat the amendment. Richard Carlbom, the group's executive director, wrote this on his Twitter page when he learned of the news.
Eat your Wheaties! Just landed in Chicago and will be up all night excited that General Mills came out against the amendment! #VoteNo— Richard Carlbom (@richardcarlbom) June 14, 2012
Carlbom also released a statement praising the company's decision:
"The business case against this amendment is straightforward and powerful. General Mills' decision to publicly oppose this hurtful, freedom-limiting amendment sends a clear message that neutrality on this amendment is simply not in Minnesota's best interest. In order to keep our state a thriving and competitive place to live and do business, we must maintain our status as a national leader in attracting top talent. Doing so begins in November with the defeat of this amendment, and we're proud to stand with General Mills and other Minnesota businesses - both big and small - in refusing to limit the freedom to marry for some committed couples in our state."
The decision was panned by Minnesota for Marriage, a group working to pass the amendment. John Helmberger, chair of Minnesota for Marriage, released this statement:
"It is very disappointing that General Mills has decided to play PC politics by pandering to a small but powerful interest group that is bent on redefining marriage, the core institution of society.
Marriage is more than a commitment between two people who love each other. It was created by God for the care and well-being of the next generation. The amendment is about preserving marriage and making sure that voters always remain in control over the definition of marriage in our state, and not activist judges or politicians.
By taking this position, General Mills is saying to Minnesotans and people all around the globe that marriage doesn't matter to them.
Marriage is in the interest of children, because it is society's best way to help children experience the ideal environment where they are raised by their mother and father. It's ironic and regrettable that a corporation that makes billions marketing cereal to parents of children would take the position that marriage should be redefined."
General Mills is the latest Minnesota based-business to speak out against the amendment. Carlson Companies Chair Marilyn Carlson Nelson, former Medtronic CEO Bill George and RBC Wealth Management CEO John Taft have all spoken out against the amendment.
Voters will decide in November whether the Minnesota Constitution should be amended to define marriage as between one man and one woman.(3 Comments)
Posted at 12:10 PM on June 6, 2012
by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Marriage Amendment
The Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board has dismissed a complaint against the Minnesota Family Council, an organization that supports a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
In its report , the Board said it found no evidence that the Minnesota Family Council (MFC) has violated state law.
The dismissal stems from a complaint filed earlier this year by Common Cause Minnesota.
The complaint alleged that MFC violated state law by working on behalf of the marriage amendment because the Family Council is a political committee and failed to register as one. Common Cause said MFC should be subject to the same reporting and disclosure requirements as other political committees.
The proof was in the nearly $347,000 MFC spent in 2011 from a special fund it set up to promote the marriage amendment, Common Cause argued.
"Surely an organization that spends an amount to influence a ballot question in seven months that nearly triples the total amount spent on all of its activities in the prior year has the 'major purpose' of promoting the ballot question," the Common Cause complaint stated.
The Board defines a political committee as an organization whose major purpose is to promote or defeat a ballot initiative, among other things.
But in its ruling, the Board argued that given all the activities MFC has engaged in since it was founded, the group's major purpose was broader than promoting the marriage amendment.
The Minnesota Family Council applauds the board's decision. John Helmberger, Minnesota Family Council CEO, wrote in a press release that, "the Common Cause complaint was nothing but a political stunt designed to harass donors to MFC. It is clear that MFC complied with Minnesota law and all of the CFB's guidance and we anticipated that the CFB would reject the complaint upon completion of their analysis."
Gov. Dayton is scheduled to headline a fundraiser later this month to help a group that wants to defeat an constitutional amendment that would define marriage between one man and one woman.
The fundraiser is being billed as the "first-ever Governor's Pride Reception." It will be held on June 19, four days before the Twin Cities Pride Festival. The funds will go to Minnesotans United for All Families, which is working to defeat the amendment.
Meanwhile, Dayton's sons, Eric and Andrew, announced that they're donating $200,000 to the group. In an e-mail to supporters through Minnesotans United for All Families, the Daytons are encouraging donors to "match their contributions."
"It's simple: Committed, same-sex couples should have the freedom to marry. Together, we can contribute $400,000 toward Minnesotans United's efforts to protect that freedom," they wrote in the e-mail.
Their e-mail comes one day after Public Policy Polling released a poll saying there is growing opposition to the proposed amendment among those polled.
June 19 is the filing deadline where the public will get a better understanding of who is funding the groups. Minnesota for Marriage, a group that supports the amendment, reported raising roughly $1.3 million most of it coming from the Catholic Church, the National Organization for Marriage and the Minnesota Family Council.
If a majority of those support the measure in the November election, Minnesota's Constitution would be amended to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
Posted at 12:12 PM on June 5, 2012
by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Marriage Amendment
A new poll shows more Minnesota voters oppose a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman than support it.
Roughly 49 percent of registered Minnesota voters oppose the effort compared to the 43 percent that support it, according to Democratic-leaning firm Public Policy Polling.
The latest numbers demonstrate a shift in voter sentiment among independents since January when the firm found that more people supported the amendment than opposed it, said Dustin Ingalls, who is assistant to Public Policy Polling's director.
"Independents have moved from being 50 to 40 for it to being against it, pretty strongly so," Ingalls said. "Really the entirely movement has been with independent voters."
Meanwhile, Republicans and Democrats remain solidly for and against the amendment, Ingalls said.
Meanwhile, the same PPP poll shows 58 percent of voters support a constitutional amendment to require voters to show identification at the polls while 34 percent of voters oppose the amendment.
Other poll highlights:
- Gov. Mark Dayton's approval rating is 49 percent, while Republicans in the Legislature have a 21 percent approval rating.
- Legislative Democrats lead a generic ballot 48-36 percent, in part due to support from independent voters.
- Voters are divided on the Vikings stadium deal with 44 percent supporting it and 41 percent opposing it.
The poll surveyed 973 Minnesota voters between May 31 and June 3. The margin of error is 3.1 percentage points. Read more about the poll here.
Here's some reaction from Minnesotans United for All Families, a group opposing the amendment:
"Today's poll shows there is a conversation happening across this state about what marriage means and how this amendment would limit the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples. The more people talk about this, the more likely they are to vote no in November, and this poll demonstrates that more and more Minnesotans are coming to the conclusion that this is not the right thing to do for our state."
We will update this story with reaction from Minnesota for Marriage, the group supporting the amendment, when it's available.
Here's reaction from Minnesota for Marriage communications director, Chuck Darrell:
"We've been polling the amendment for over a year and our most recent poll shows the race unchanged with support for the amendment in the mid‐fifties. And, every time the voters get a chance to vote on marriage, they affirm marriage as between one man and one woman. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we expect Minnesota to be the 32nd state to define marriage as between one man and one woman in its constitution."
With just five months until the general election, DFL delegates say they are confident that their candidates at the top of the ticket will have no trouble winning Minnesota this November.
Matt Toburen of Minneapolis is among those who say President Barack Obama and Sen. Amy Klobuchar are shoo-ins.
"I think Minnesota will go strongly for Barack Obama and Amy Klobuchar this year," he said.
Mike Quinn of Rochester shares Toburen's optimism.
"I don't think Minnesota is going to go anywhere but with Obama and Klobuchar," he said, adding that he believes the top of the ticket will help the DFL win majorities in the Legislature as well.
But not everyone at the convention believes that Obama and Klobuchar have flawless records.
Beth Walters of Sauk Rapids said she wished both had done more for labor unions. And she expressed some disappointment with the new health care law.
"I think the health care reform was a good first step, but I think it needed to go further," Walters said.
While the crowd has legitimate reasons to be optimistic - both Klobuchar and Obama are so far enjoying strong support in the state - party leaders have warned against over confidence.
"No one is taking the president's election for granted starting with the president, who expects a very tough campaign. Certainly not Amy [Klobuchar], who is working harder than anybody," said Gov. Mark Dayton. "Everybody has spent the last two years in the minority, and with all the frustrations involved with that, there's no complacency whatsoever."
Some delegates are more concerned about passage of two constitutional amendments on the ballot, one that would require voters to show identification at the polls, and another that would define marriage between a man and a woman.
Quinn said he's confident Minnesotans will reject the marriage amendment, because voters don't want to change the state's constitution.
But voter ID is on shakier ground, he said.
"I think you have a lot of people on both sides, probably even a lot of Democrats, who don't quite understand what the problem is in regards to the election ballot," said Quinn. "I think we have to do a lot more to get them to understand that it is difficult to get older people and students their notification of having an ID like that especially in a short period of time close to an election period."
Posted at 9:58 AM on June 2, 2012
by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Campaign 2012, Campaign 2012: Presidential Race, Campaign 2012: U.S. Senate, Marriage Amendment, Political parties, Voter ID Amendment
ROCHESTER - The state DFL convention is underway. There's not much suspense about the main order of business-- endorsing U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar for a second term.
DFL party chair Ken Martin welcomed delegates Saturday morning by urging them to re-elect Klobuchar and President Barack Obama, and to defeat two constitutional amendments that will be on the ballot this fall.
"President Obama has asked all of us if we are in for 2012," Martin said. "I want President Obama to know that we have heard him and his call to action."
The crowd responded with shouts of, "I'm in!"
Martin said DFLers must vote against the two constitutional amendments, one that would require Minnesotans to show identification at the polls before they can vote and another that would define marriage as between a man and a woman.
"Who are we, as a people, to tell two committed, loving same-sex individuals that they cannot marry each other?" Martin said. "What kind of state do we want to leave to our children?"
Groups opposing both amendments have a noticeable presence at the convention, taking down delegate information, and passing out buttons and signs.
Martin also used his opening speech to attack the Minnesota Republican Party, which has been troubled by financial woes and leadership turnover.
The DFL party is united while Republicans are "in disarray," Martin said. The Republican party has been "beset by scandal, riddled with debt, and torn apart at the seams by infighting," he said.
Minnesota for Marriage, a group that supports a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, is trying to raise money off Target's recent announcement that it will raise money for a group that opposes the amendment.
Minnesota for Marriage wants its supporters to give up to $100 to offset the up to $120,000 Target has pledged to raise for the Family Equality Council. To raise the cash, Target will be selling gay pride t-shirts throughout June.
Two years ago, Target was the subject of consumer backlash after giving to an organization that supported Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, who opposed same-sex marriage.
This year's t-shirt sale is an attempt to make amends with the gay community, wrote Minnesota for Marriage Campaign Manager Andy Parrish in the fundraising email. He said the company should be prepared for more alienated customers.
"Clearly this is to make nice with the homosexual marriage community for their donation to support Tom Emmer two years ago," Parrish wrote. "It's wrong for a mega-corporation to take sides in an important social issue that has nothing to do with its business objectives. In doing so, Target has alienated the strong majority of Minnesotans who support traditional marriage. They also risk alienating the overwhelming majority of their customers in the 32 states in this country that have voted to support traditional marriage."(2 Comments)
President Obama's campaign in Minnesota has issued a statement saying the campaign will oppose the state's proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
"While the President does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the record is clear that the President has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same sex couples," said Kristen Sosanie, spokeswoman for the Obama for America - Minnesota campaign. "That's what the Minnesota ballot initiative would do - it would single out and discriminate against committed gay and lesbian couples - and that's why the President does not support it."
This isn't the first instance where President Obama has spoken out about a ballot initiative that bans same-sex marriage. The campaign released a statement in March saying Mr. Obama opposed the amendment in North Carolina.
The statement comes as Mr. Obama is courting the gay community heading into the November election. He has long opposed efforts to allow gay couples to marry but said his views on gay marriage "are evolving." His administration, however, is no longer defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act and says it blocks gay rights.
It isn't certain what impact the campaign will have on the constitutional amendment efforts to ban same-sex marriage. Groups have been raising millions to both support and oppose the amendment.
Update: It should be noted that Minnesota law currently bans same-sex marriage.(10 Comments)
Gov. Dayton is criticizing Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature for putting measures on the ballot that they couldn't get signed into law. Speaking at a rally held by the National Association of Social Workers, Minnesota Chapter, Dayton said he doesn't support the Legislature's focus on constitutional amendments.
"This is supposed to be the center of democracy for the state of Minnesota," Dayton said. "That involves the give and take between the legislative branch and the executive branch. It doesn't mean going around a governor because I can't veto a constitutional amendment and putting constitutional amendments on the ballot that the DFLers don't have anything to say about."
He said he was especially concerned about amendments "that would take away people's rights."
Dayton also expressed confidence that Minnesota would be the first state to reject a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
The House and Senate have also each passed a constitutional amendment to require people to present photo identification to vote. A House/Senate conference committee is expected to be appointed to reconcile the differences on the bill. If the House and Senate agree on new language, both chambers would have to vote again on it for it to pass.
Other lawmakers say they'd also like to pass the "right-to-work" constitutional amendment that would make union membership and dues voluntary for all members.
The governor cannot veto constitutional amendments, so the questions would be put on the ballot if the House and Senate pass the legislation.(1 Comments)
Thousands of Minnesota voters are expected to show up at Tuesday night's caucuses, and groups involved in three potential changes to the state's constitution are using the events to organize for election efforts involving a same-sex marriage ban, changes to union rules, and voter identification requirements.
Minnesota Majority, a group that backs the ballot initiative that would ban same-sex marriage, is asking supporters to incorporate a resolution in favor of the amendment into their party's platform.
The group is also asking caucus-goers to add voter identification requirements and language that would cut into the power of unions.
Lawmakers have introduced legislation that would put both those issues on the ballot this fall.
Meanwhile, Minnesotans United for All Families, a group that opposes the same-sex marriage ban, is looking for caucus night recruiters to talk caucus-goers into opposing the amendment.
The latest Public Policy Polling survey says 53 percent of those polled approve of the job Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton is doing. Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature are faring much worse. 23 percent of those polled view them negatively. The poll says Democrats in the Legislature are winning in a generic ballot against their GOP opponents but the DFL approval numbers aren't much better than Republicans. Just 31 percent of those surveyed have a favorable opinion of Democrats.
The poll also shows that the constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman is close. 48 percent of those surveyed say the support the ban on same-sex marriage. 44 percent are opposed to it.
59 percent of those surveyed also don't support any public money going to a new Vikings stadium but that's only if the team stays in Minnesota. Public opinion appears to shift if public money is the only way it will keep the team in the state. 46 percent of those polled say they'd support public money for a stadium if "that's what it took to keep the Vikings in Minnesota."
Read the full poll here.
With MPR's Brett Neely.
Rep.Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., announced today she's running for re-election to Congress after ending her presidential bid earlier this month. The announcement ends weeks of speculation that Bachmann might leave Congress after her term ends.
Bachmann ended her presidential bid earlier this month after a fifth place finish in the Iowa Caucus. After the defeat, there was speculation that she might leave Congress when her term ends. Bachmann told reporters today that she plans to focus on her work in the House of Representatives.
"I laid everything on the line in the last election because I saw how severe this spending crisis is in the United States," Bachmann said. "This debt crisis, it's impacting national security. I think people recognize that I'm an extremely hard worker and that I've represented their values."
When asked if she would seek a leadership position among House Republicans, she said no.
"I'm more concerned about the issues," Bachmann said. "I'm more concerned about turning the economy around and protecting the safety of the American people than I am about a leadership position."
But Bachmann does face hurdles - she's lost some key staffers, her campaign coffers are likely close to empty and a recent statewide poll suggests that Minnesota voters have developed a negative impression of her.
Another factor is what her congressional district might look like. A court panel is scheduled to release a new set of political boundaries next month as a result of the once a decade redistricting process. Bachmann currently represents the 6th District which will see significant changes because of its fast growing population.
(Listen to what Bachmann said to reporters this morning: Listen)
DFL Party Chair Ken Martin issued a statement criticizing Bachmann.
"Rep. Michele Bachmann has done absolutely nothing for the people of Minnesota's Sixth District in the last year. Since September 2011, she has missed over 90 percent of the votes in Congress.
Instead, she was flying around the country and catering to her Tea Party friends as part of her failed bid for president. The American people have overwhelmingly rejected her extreme right wing agenda, and the people of Minnesota have shown the same dissatisfaction.
It is time for Michele Bachmann to put her Tea Party initiatives aside and finally start working for the people of her district.
Recent poll numbers show a record high disapproval rating for Representative Bachmann because her right wing agenda, radical policies and extreme rhetoric are not what Americans or Minnesotans want. The poll numbers are clear, almost 60 percent of Minnesotans say Bachmann should not run for re-election."
National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) issued a statement praising Bachmann for her decision to run again.
"Michele Bachmann is a powerful conservative voice in America, and I am very pleased that she has chosen to run for re-election to the House of Representatives in 2012. Michele is a dedicated public servant who will continue standing up for the Constitution and free enterprise principles on behalf of hard-working Minnesota families.
Michele understands that the greatness of America lies in the freedom and opportunity of its people - not the size of its government. I applaud her tireless fight to repeal ObamaCare and reduce the size and cost of government so that Americans can create their own prosperity. I join House Republicans in welcoming Michele's continued service in Congress and look forward to working with her in the years ahead."
Bachmann's decision brings some certainty to a Republican Party that has been speculating about her future. She could help deliver votes for state and federal candidates in 2012, since she has worked to elect them in past election cycles. She is also heavily supported by Christian conservatives and could help deliver votes for a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
Update: Minnesota Republican Party Chair Pat Shortridge issued this statement on Bachmann's decision:
"Congresswoman Bachmann has worked extremely hard on behalf of Republican principles for the past three terms in Congress. She continues to fight for limited, Constitutional government, personal freedom, traditional values, and a strong and secure America. We are thankful to have her on our side and confident in what she will continue to accomplish on our behalf in Washington," said MNGOP Chairman Pat Shortridge.
Some prominent Minnesota Republicans announced today that they'll work to defeat a constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage.
Members of the Log Cabin Republicans and Republicans Against the Minnesota Marriage Amendment joined forces with Minnesotans United for All Families. During a news conference, former gubernatorial candidate and long-time Republican advisor Wheelock Whitney said he was donating $10,000 to the cause and urging his friends to do the same.
"There's nothing, absolutely nothing in my Republican value system that supports marriage bans in our constitution," Whitney said. "So, I strongly oppose this amendment as a lifelong Republican."
Whitney was joined by Dale Carpenter, Susan Kimberly Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, and Richard Painter.
Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Tony Sutton says the party platform strongly supports the amendment. He downplayed the group's opposition.
"Not every Republican is going to agree with every plank in the platform," Sutton said. "However, we're going to vigorously support our platform and our position."
Sutton would not say if the party will provide financial support to the pro-amendment effort.
The Minnesota Campaign Finance Board released a draft report that details when groups are required to disclose donors who give to support or oppose a ballot initiative.
The board will consider the proposal at a time when groups are ramping up efforts on a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage.
"In the past, ballot questions haven't been as polarized or contentious as the current ballot question that we foresee in the 2012 ballot question is shaping up," MN Campaign Fiance Board Executive Director Gary Goldsmith said. "There wasn't much question because organizations were raising money and it was clear that the purpose of raising that money was to promote or defeat a ballot question."
Goldsmith says the proposed guidelines are meant to offer some guidance to outside groups that may contribute to or work on a ballot initiative. Goldsmith says the board already required disclosure for donors who wanted to give money to fund a ballot initiative or was asked by a group to contribute to help a ballot initiative.
The draft proposal would also detail how a ballot initiative donation to an outside group should be disclosed. For example, a group that details its work in other areas but also mentions the support or defeat of a ballot initiative will have to determine how much of the contribution is directed to the ballot initiative. Those groups would now have to determine how much of a contribution was used for a ballot initiative.
Goldsmith says the Campaign Finance Board will consider adopting the guidelines at a Tuesday meeting.
Here's the document released by the MN Campaign Finance Board:
Minnesotans United For all Families has announced that it has hired Richard Carlbom to direct the group's efforts to defeat the constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage. Carlbom currently serves as Communications Director for St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. He was also campaign manager for DFL Rep. Tim Walz in 2010.Carlbom was also the Mayor of St. Joseph from 2005-2007.
Carlbom's experience stumping for votes in rural Minnesota played a factor in his hiring.
"That's a certainly a huge asset to any statewide campaign," Minnesotans United For all Families spokesman Donald McFarland said. "We need to win votes in every county to win this so that's a huge asset."
DFL Sen. Scott Dibble and GOP Rep. Tim Kelly participated in the hiring process of Carlbom.
"I know that Richard Carlbom is the individual who can lead us to victory. His work ethic is excellent, and his intelligence and insight inspire confidence," Dibble said in a news release.
"Mr. Carlbom is a fantastic choice. From my perspective, this issue is not one of partisanship but rather, one of individual freedom and choice. Richard has the ability to bring this message to all Minnesotans in a clear, concise manner, and I look forward to being a part of that effort," Kelly said in a news release.
Carlbom will leave Coleman's office to take the job. He starts the new job on September 24.
Voters in the 2012 election will decide whether the state's constitution should be amended to require that marriage is defined between one man and one woman. If a majority of those voting in that election vote yes, the constitution will be amended.
Update: Minnesota for Marriage, a group working to pass the amendment, announced today that it hired Chuck Darrell as communications director. Darrell was a spokesman for the Minnesota Family Council.
The Minnesota Family Council sent an e-mail to supporters today encouraging them to volunteer to help pass a constitutional amendment that would ban same sex marriage. Minnesota Family Council CEO John Helmberger said in the e-mail that the group would include the Minnesota Family Council, the Minnesota Catholic Conference and the National Organization for Marriage:
For our campaign to be successful, however, we need people of faith to rise up, speak, and participate in the campaign. We know that those who want to redefine marriage to their own purposes will benefit from millions of dollars in support from wealthy donors in Hollywood, New York, and other centers of "popular culture". They will not lack for resources. We must counter that with the power of our people, who will volunteer their time, speak the truth, and contribute of their resources to help our campaign.
Our campaign plan relies on recruiting and deploying thousands of volunteers throughout the state of Minnesota. We will be conducting a massive voter education effort - speaking one-on-one with every Minnesota resident about the amendment and why it is necessary to preserve traditional marriage in our state and prevent activist judges or legislators from ever redefining it without the support of voters.
(Full e-mail below)
Helmberger also said the media "overwhelmingly against the amendment and they slant news coverage to make it seem as if we are going to lose" and suggested that they would be outspent by opponents of the amendment.
Both sides are gearing up for what is expected to be a costly battle. 31 of 31 states have voted to amend the constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman. Groups working to defeat the amendment include Project 515, OutFront Minnesota and the Human Rights Campaign. The Minnesota AFL-CIO also announced yesterday that the coalition of labor unions would work to defeat the amendment.
"The labor movement is, and has always been about protecting and advancing the rights of all people," said Minnesota AFL-CIO President Shar Knutson in a news release. "We will not stand by and allow discrimination to become part of Minnesota's constitution."
Voters in the 2012 election will decide whether the Minnesota Constitution should define marriage as between one man and one woman. The constitution will include the marriage definition if a majority of those voting in the election vote yes.
Here's the e-mail:6 Comments)