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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.

The legislation is co-authored by state Sen. Brad Peterson (R-35). National same-sex marriage opponents have vowed to unseat Peterson if he goes ahead with his sponsorship of the bill. 

“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."

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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.

Edward February 28, 2013 at 03:50 AM
Randy, Many business interests in the state believe that legalizing gay marriage IS an economic and jobs issue, as equal rights will attract talented creatives to our state workforce. The CEO of Carlson Cos comes to mind (I forget here name, but she wrote an editorial about this).
Randy Marsh February 28, 2013 at 06:06 AM
Wow, that is some of the most impressive spin I've heard in a long time. I don't even have a problem with those who want to see this happen, but I would at the very least appreciate a little honesty. Trying to pass this off as an economic boost for the state, while perhaps true on a small scale, is disingenuous and you know it.
yomammy February 28, 2013 at 01:21 PM
..and it saves children, homeless, the poor. Passing this will align the planets.
Markus February 28, 2013 at 03:47 PM
Maybe the Republicans will think twice the next time they have control of the legislature (if there is a next time) about wasting all of their political capital on divisive amendments, stadiums for billionaires and unseemly sex scandals rather than truly important issues. Whenever the Republicans have the upper hand they squander it. It seems as thought they have some sort of strange self-sabotage mechanism built into the party at the state and federal level. The Democrats may be hypocrites, but they definitely do not squander their political power when they are in charge. Is anyone really surprised that they would use this wide open window of opportunity to steamroller the opposition and advance the extreme agenda they have been dreaming about all these years, including raising taxes and gay "marriage"? The Republicans have done nothing but shoot themselves in the foot in the last few election cycles. They had better get with it and get a unified message that appeals to the electorate or they can resign themselves to being the minority party for the foreseeable future.
yomammy February 28, 2013 at 08:03 PM
woulda been funny if the kid said "mama"...

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