REPLAY: Same-Sex Marriage Bill to Be Announced Today
Opponents vow half-million dollar offensive to counter legalization.
State legislators today will introduce a measure to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota.
Sen. Scott Dibble, Reps. Karen Clark (DFL-62A) and Steve Simon (DFL-46B), along with faith leaders announced the introduction of a legalization bill on Wednesday.
The introduction of the bill comes fresh off the heels of the Freedom to Marry Day rally on Valentine's Day, when more than 2,000 Minnesotans packed into the State Capitol Rotunda in support of marriage for same-sex couples.
“Republicans like Branden Petersen don’t realize that not only is voting to redefine marriage a terrible policy, it is also a career-ending vote for a Republican,” National Organization for Marriage head Brian Brown said in a news release emailed to reporters. “NOM will do everything in our power to defeat any Republican who votes in favor of same-sex marriage."
The Stillwater area's state representatives have all said they believe same-sex marriage is a contentious issue from the past that is now distracting lawmakers from their "main obligations this year.”
Rep. Bob Dettmer (R-Forest Lake) supports protecting the traditional definition of marriage, and said he has always been up front with his constituents about it.
“Gay marriage is certainly an issue that divides Minnesota,” Sen. Karin Housley (R- St. Mary's Point) said. “I think we should focus first on our state’s budget, growing the economy and creating jobs.”
Rep. Kathy Lohmer (R-Stillwater), too, said she has been clear that she supports traditional marriage.
“While the marriage amendment did not pass,” Lohmer said, “I do not believe that vote represented an endorsement of gay marriage.”
NOM has pledged $500,000 to unseat any Republican who supported same-sex marriage, and to support any Democrat who opposed same-sex marriage with an equal amount of money.
Legalization opponents recently floated a "counter offer" that would create a special class of legal partnerships, as between an adult serving as their sibling's caretaker, that same-sex couples could also access. The proposal only would grant same-sex couples a fraction of the rights included in civil marriage, and has been unpopular with same-sex marriage advocates.
Same-sex marriage advocates have so far been bullish about their chances for passing the bill and are trying to turn the network of volunteers who helped defeat the 2012 amendment into a tool to get same-sex marriage legalization passed.