Thank Republicans for Gay Marriage in Minnesota

A GOP effort to ban same-sex marriage led to a gay rights milestone

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Shortly before midnight Wednesday, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak stood before nearly 1,000 people at the foot of the white marble staircase inside City Hall. “It’s a tremendous honor to be able to do what we are about to do,” he said, before pausing. “We will talk about this for a couple more minutes.”

The audience snickered. It was only 11:57 — three minutes before Minnesota would join Rhode Island as the 12th and 13th states to legalize gay marriage. As the clock struck 12 a.m., the mayor continued: “By the power now finally vested in me, by the laws of the people of Minnesota, we hereby declare Margaret and Cathy legally married.” And with that, Margaret Miles and Cathy ten Broeke became one of the first same sex couples legally married in Minnesota, one of 66 such weddings (46 of them officiated by the mayor) performed at City Hall between midnight and 7 a.m. in a ceremonial blitz. For supporters, the night marked a historic victory years in the making. And it may never have happened were it not for the strong opposition of Minnesota Republicans.

(MORE: Why Opposition to Gay Marriage Isn’t Swinging Minnesota Romney’s Way)

Though they couldn’t have known it at the time, when state lawmakers passed a Republican-initiated ballot referendum for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage two years ago, they set off a series of events that led to this landmark day for gay rights.

“There is absolutely no doubt that without the amendment campaign, we wouldn’t be where we are today with marriage equality of the law in the state of Minnesota,” says Sen. Branden Peterson, a Republican who voted in favor of the putting the amendment on the ballot, and later flipped to co-author the same-sex marriage bill. “I say that with 100-percent confidence.”

Minnesota Republicans began trying to get a constitutional gay marriage ban in 2004. The efforts failed repeatedly until the party gained control of both houses of the legislature in 2010, buoyed by the Tea Party wave. In May 2011, with majorities in both chambers, the GOP passed the bill with enough signatures to bypass the signature of Democratic Governor Mark Dayton and sent the question to the voters.

(MORE: America’s Coming-Out Election: How Gay Issues Became Mainstream)

The amendment seemed likely to succeed. 30 other states had passed similar measures and early polling on Minnesota’s ban indicated it would be approved with a more than 10 percent margin of voter support.

But the bill’s proponents were unprepared for the organized effort of the backlash. Rather than turn the fight into a civil rights battle, a strategy that had failed in other states, opponents framed the amendment as an unprovoked attack on families of all types. Under the umbrella of the political committee Minnesotans United for All Families, same-sex marriage defenders recruited 50,000 volunteers and raised $11 million – double the amount taken in by the opposition group Minnesotans for Marriage, according to campaign finance reports. In just the week before the election, the group made almost 500,000 phone calls and knocked on nearly million doors.

“It just caught fire,” says Sen. Scott Dibble, a Minneapolis Democrat who helped lead the legislative opposition. “We just knew we could win, and the only way we could do it was raise a bunch of money and throw our bodies into it.”

(MORE: After Court Ruling, Republicans Approach Gay Marriage With Caution)

The gay marriage ban was narrowly defeated and the vote proved devastating for Republicans. Mobilized by their opposition to the gay marriage ban and a presidential election, Democratic voters turned out in droves, particularly in crucial suburban districts. They voted not only against the bill, but threw out many Republicans, too, costing the party their majorities in both the state House and state Senate. An amendment born of the party’s control of government led directly to its loss of it.

“They misinterpreted, I think, how this issue would energize young people and liberals more so than it would mobilize the conservatives,” says David Schultz, a professor of law and government at Hamline University. “It turned out to be a counter mobilization.”

After the election, Minnesota Democrats found themselves in an unexpected position of opportunity. For the first time in more than 20 years, they controlled the House, Senate and governor’s office. After some inner-party debate on how to move forward, legislators introduced bills to legalize gay marriage. With significant support from Minnesotans United, which restructured as a lobbyist group in late 2012 to push for gay marriage, the measures passed and were signed into law on May 14th.

“It’s one of the great ironies, I think, of the whole legalization of gay marriage,” says Larry Jacobs, a political science professor and elections expert at the University of Minnesota, “because it probably would never have happened if it wasn’t for Republicans.”

MORE: The People’s Court

70 comments
chaapala
chaapala

Minnesota Republicans broke the old rule "Never ask a question when you are not positive you will like the answer."



JasonQucik
JasonQucik

I actually thank Obama for gays everywhere. He himself is gay.

Ivan_Tucherkov
Ivan_Tucherkov

This is nothing new, most are used to taking it in the butt from Republicans.

TimothyBeauchamp
TimothyBeauchamp

This is fantastic!  Also, it really warms my heart to see that Republican bigots were turned out of office with a backlash to their ridiculous hatred and bigotry of LGBT citizens.  If LGBT citizens can serve openly and honestly in the military.  If they can fight, bleed and die for those bigots who try to deny them rights then I think it is our responsible to fight to ensure LGBT citizens receive every single right other Americans enjoy!

wrp136
wrp136

GOP = "Grand Old Past"......

glennra3
glennra3

Sometimes...not often, mind you...but, sometimes there is justice in the world.


Great story.

lazarus00000
lazarus00000

I am wondering how strong the faithful are when the light of truth is shown to them? We live in a totally new world now where the fears the religions depended on is simply not going to be tolerated any more.

As we look at the history of the Hebrew, the Christian and the Muslim religions, we clearly see that fearing an eternity of dambnation is preferable to fearing the hell the religions bring to people in the here and now.

If you want to expereience true hell, google the inquisitions of the christians, of the hebrew laws of the ancient jews, or for a more modern view, google the Muslims, and torture, and executions. But a really good view of the work that the truly faithful do , go to the Syrian rebels where they publicly sawed off the heads of three christin clerics.

If the christians were allowed to worship as they did during the dark ages, we would still be seeing trials and executions in the name of god worldwide.

Lazarus

schroeea
schroeea

Clearly there are still many Catholics who are not heeding the words of the current Pope.  I was raised Catholic but left the church as people seem to prefer judging and hating people for their differences instead of loving each other for who we are.  Granted, there needs to be a lot more changes when it comes to things like women in the church for me to consider coming back, but I digress.

 I'm glad my former home state of MN passed the gay marriage law, as I would much rather see stories of love in my news feeds and see pictures from my hetero and homosexual friends weddings.  Enough judging each other, pretending to be better and holier than thou and all around hate.  MORE LOVE!!!!

MikeTrivette
MikeTrivette

Human anatomy is not designed to accomidate te same sex. End of story. Also accordind to the CDC , it costs $60000 to treat an AIDS patient from diagnosis until death. What health care system can bear-up under such cost? 600000 x 1.7 million = $1 trillion.

Any wonder that our health care system is going under? Maybe this is the purpose of Obamacare ???/

eagle11772
eagle11772

The law of unintended consequences.  LOL

DaneMuhlig
DaneMuhlig

Here's what God says about Gay:
"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against
all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress
the truth by their wickedness...
Their thinking became futile
and their foolish hearts were darkened.
..Therefore God gave
them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual
impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.
 
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie...

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts.
Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural
ones.
  In the same way the men also abandoned natural
relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one
another. Men committed indecent acts with other men,
and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not
to be done.
They have become filled with every kind of
wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy,
murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips,
slanderers,
God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of
doing evil; they disobey their parents;
they are senseless,
faithless, heartless, ruthless.
  Although they know God's
righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death,
they not only continue to do these very things but also approve
of those who practice them." Rom. 1:18-32.

Deal with it!

Bert27
Bert27

You can also thank them in Rhode Island where 100% of Senate Republicans backed gay marriage, and in New Hampshire where a supermajority Republican delegation confirmed the right of same sex couples to marry, and Vermont and Connecticut's Republican governors who nearly a decade ago advanced the cause by signing civil unions into law, back when gay marriage was still a taboo issue. I'm certainly proud to be a Republican based on that record, much better then the Democratic record of DOMA and the Federal Marriage Amendment, authored by a Dem congressman so many years ago.

EricPulvermacher
EricPulvermacher

Clever. Went right to the 12 year old tactic of name calling.

EricPulvermacher
EricPulvermacher

You can get AIDS from other activites not just sex. Also you can get AIDS for hetro sex in any case. What will be the medical costs due to your gun rampage when you finally have your psyhcotic break?

markb3699
markb3699

Here we have: a science expert. We should all bow down and listen to the words of truth. Glad you have it all figured out!

AIslander
AIslander

@MikeTrivette 

YOU are what passes for a physician in Kentucky?  WOW am I glad I live on the west coast!  You are a disgrace to your profession.

DTTroy
DTTroy

@MikeTrivette What does your statement about HIV/AIDS have to do with marriage equality (i.e. allowing people of the same sex to marry)? If you're making a comparison to the terrible disease and homosexuality you best go back and do some further research about the disease. You will learn, amongst other things, that the community with the highest rate of infection is African-America females.

IzzyOllie
IzzyOllie

@MikeTrivette Actually, thanks to Obamacare, the health insurance company will have to pay for the AIDS patient's care because they will no longer be able to cancel the patient's policy simply because they became ill and needed to use the very insurance that they faithfully paid the premium for month after month.  2.85 million Americans had to file bankruptcy every year because their health insurance policy was cancelled when they became sick and they then went bankrupt trying to keep themselves, their spouse or their child alive.  In fact, you too could become very very sick and you too will have the protection of the ACA.  Ignorance like yours costs this country a lot more than the cost of medical treatment for AIDS victims.

hivemaster
hivemaster

@DaneMuhlig If you've ever eaten a cheeseburger or a lobster, Leviticus says you're going to hell as well.  DEAL WITH IT.

JenniferBonin
JenniferBonin

@DaneMuhligAnd how about THIS Bible verse:

"Give back to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's."

In other words, if you want to live your personal life believing that gay people are immoral, that's fine.  But what you wrote is God's law, not "Caesar's".  Jesus could separate the two.  Why can't YOU?

The religious sacrament of marriage is NOT the same as the civil ceremony of marriage. 

orangeplasticfish
orangeplasticfish

The bible does NOT forbid sinners from getting married...So, why hold gays and lesbians to higher standards than the rest of us? Never mind that marriage of gays and lesbians won't affect us in any way?

lazarus00000
lazarus00000

@DaneMuhlig 

do you know the author of the verse you cherry picked? It was taken from one of th letters Paul wrote to a friend in rome some 50 years after christ was murdered by the hebrew laws.

Read some history.

Lazarus

markb3699
markb3699

From a book written by cavemen. Deal with it.

lazarus00000
lazarus00000

@DaneMuhlig 

Hey Dane,

I did not get that memo from God, would you mind CCing me on it?

all I ever hear is the cherry picked quote from the Hebrew Old Testament that was written by the paid scribes of Abraham and Moses. But if you have an official message from God, please feel free to share it with us.

Thanks, LOL,

Lazarus

j.cadman.smith
j.cadman.smith

@DaneMuhlig   Words, just words. The Bible is a 2000 year old collection of mystic writing written by superstitious men with nothing relevant to say. 

IzzyOllie
IzzyOllie

@DaneMuhlig , No dude, YOU deal with it!  Thank goodness our society is progressing to the point where decent folks no longer hate other people for their sexual orientation.  If there is such a thing as the Pearly Gates, what, exactly, are you going to say to St. Peter when he tells you just don't get it and that you hate disqualifies you from entering those gates?  Guess you'll just have to deal with it.

wrp136
wrp136

@DaneMuhlig ;Personally, I don't give a rat's a$s what your God says, since I am an atheist and no way are you going to subvert our Constitution and turn our civil laws into your little christian sharia. You can dance and prance your gods and jesus' within the walls of your church until you fall from exhaustion, but no way are you going to bring them into our courthouses!

eagle11772
eagle11772

@DaneMuhlig I don't listen to what old dead Jews have to say about anything.  btw, I'm wearing cotton, and rayon.  TO HELL I GO, I guess.  Just let me grab a cold brewski, and WOO-HOO !  "We're on an express elevator to Hell !  Gown down ! "  WOO-HOO ! :)

Aaron67
Aaron67

@DaneMuhlig That God is a wordy fella. Did he author the Affordable Care Act as well?

redexpendable
redexpendable

That's what man has said about it. And not even all men. Only a small portion.

Deal with it.

AIslander
AIslander

@Bert27  I considered DOMA  largely a concession to head off the very real possibility at that time of a US Constitutional amendment., which would have been far more devastating.  Most of us interested in equality at that time felt that DOMA (and similarly DADT) would eventually fail Constitutional muster when time went by and more was done to raise the visibility of gay people with such efforts as the Coming Out day campaigns, etc.  

While Equality has been taking more time than many like  to make a reality for all, actually in historic perspective of serious social issues, the shift in favor of equality has been remarkably fast.  



persuter1
persuter1

@Bert27 Written by a Democrat from Mississippi indeed. Of course, it had 22 Republican cosponsors in its initial bid, including such luminaries as Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin, Joe "You Lie!" Wilson, Virgil Goode, Jim DeMint, Lindsey Graham, Tom Tancredo, and my personal favorite, David Vitter, who managed to find the time to cosponsor a bill defending marriage in between his visits to DC brothels...

IzzyOllie
IzzyOllie

@Bert27 Uh dude, you do realize that the title of the article was sarcastic, right?  It is simply absurd to suggest that the GOP has done more for gay rights than the Democratics.  It's like suggesting that Exxon and BP are environmentalists!  Clinton had no choice to sign DOMA because Congress had enough votes to override any veto.

SarahConfran
SarahConfran

And DOMA didn't need Clinton's signiture because it had enough votes to override.

johnny04
johnny04

@Bert27 Well, if you're proud to be a republican based on that record, then we love you.

esperando
esperando

@Bert27 To be fair, in NH, it was Republicans who introduced the bill to repeal same-sex marriage.  When it blew up in their faces, about two-thirds of the caucus called it quits and voted it down.

MikeFry
MikeFry

@DTTroy @MikeTrivette Right. And, as if gay men don't have sex outside of marriage. LOL. I mean, where do these people get this stuff?

MikeFry
MikeFry

@IzzyOllie @MikeTrivette Umm... you post seems to suggest that gay men have not been having sex before marriage, i.e. gay marriage is going to lead to more sex. I don't think you have been paying much attention!

MikeTrivette
MikeTrivette

@IzzyOllie @MikeTrivette  I am a Physician and deal with health care issues daily. Many self - inflicted ailments are 100% preventable.. smoking, obesity, type 2 diahetes etc.... Why should we who take care of our health subsidize such irresponsible behavior ?

EricPulvermacher
EricPulvermacher

I am very sorry for any of your patients. Your thoughts are clouded with ignorance and hate. I am sure most of your diagnosis revolves around more prayer and maybe some blood letting. 

IrishinToronto
IrishinToronto

It was physcians at the Red Cross that made the idiotic decision in the 1980s to buy pooled blood products from the Haitian prison system, knowing full well that Haiti was the epicentre of HIV in the Western Hemisphere at the time  We are still paying for the deplorably bad decisions of physicians like yourself who let stereotypes rather than science dictate their decisions.

AIslander
AIslander

@AaronMilesDavis @schroeea @MikeTrivette @IzzyOllie 

Believe it or not, it appears there is a such named Physician in Kentucky.  So apparently either this guy has hijacked this legit MD;s name (very unlikely) OR (almost certainly) he actually IS a Physician. 

But I sure feel sorry for his patients. In my neck of the woods he'd be run out of town.

lazarus00000
lazarus00000

@MikeTrivette 

I am surprised you can spell Physician, much less claim to be one. The nature of AIDs and the reason it is so deadly is that is is Blood borne and is a virus. As with all viruses, they are difficult to impossible to treat. Every time, I read some ignorant person try to state statistical numbers to rationalize their ignorance in any discussion I wonder if they feel some how smarter? do you?

Also I was wondering if you wash your hands after to use the restroom? Right now there is a very deadly germ that is able to kill within 24 hours of cross contamination. Where do you think all of the mysterious illnesses are coming from?

The new strain of gonorreah is resistant to all antibiotics and I am told that it is in fact a curse from god on the ignorant heterosexauls who use the name of god to curse others. Yuo are not one of these people are you? I hope not because diseases like this are blind to whom they infect, that is unless god give it to you?

Herpes is another curse from god onto heterosexauls, as is Hepatitis, Mono, Menengitis, and the crabs.

I hope you are protected.

Lazarus

AaronMilesDavis
AaronMilesDavis

@schroeea @MikeTrivette @IzzyOllie yeah he is a liar and a troll... obviously not a physician because a physician would own up to the fact that hiv and other STDs are prevalent in straight and gay communities, and not use his position to single out and blame disease on obviously incorrect stereotypes.  Also why should people subsidies pharma/big insurance companies that focus on treating the symptoms of disease and not cures?!  Many insurance providers do not cover costs for gym membership, dieticians, and other preventative measures.  Instead they will put you through the revolving door which is our failed medical system.  Obama care isn't perfect but its a step in the right direction.  I think its funny how you use an article on freedom to marry who you want and use it to bash Obama care and gays, and then claim your a person of science/medicine... get out tea party troll ;)

schroeea
schroeea

@MikeTrivette @IzzyOllie You're a physician and think that AIDS is only prevalent in the gay community?  I think you're a liar and a troll... or a really terrible physician.