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.

EricPulvermacher
EricPulvermacher

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

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 ???/

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.

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 ?

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.

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.

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!

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?

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.

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!

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 ;)

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

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.

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.

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?

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. 

eagle11772
eagle11772

The law of unintended consequences.  LOL

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