Numbers Show Challenge To Marriage Equality In Minnesota

MNcardMinnesota voters may have voted "no" on amending the constitution to define marriage as being between one man and one woman, but Star Tribune journalst Lori Sturdevant crunched the numbers and finds that the state's ruling Democratic Farmer-Labor Party probably won't be inclined to push for legislative action repealing the 15-year old law that still bans same-sex nuptials in Minnesota.

Truth be told, despite a 38-29 majority in the Senate and 73-61 edge
in the House, DFLers may not have the votes to pull off a prompt DOMA
repeal. It isn't lost on legislators that "yes" carried 75 of the
state's 87 counties — the rural share — many with more than 60 percent
of the vote. Some of those counties are now represented by DFLers —
and DFL leaders want to keep it that way.

They just won an election by accusing Republicans of social-issue
overreach. They know that in the eyes of the 47.43 percent of
Minnesotans who voted "yes" on the marriage ban, repealing DOMA would
make them guilty of the same crime.

Minnesota lawmaker Rep. Patti Fritz is well aware of this political reality, and seems unwilling to take up the issue at all.

"When you bring up an emotional issue like that, it takes center stage
and steals everyone else’s air, and everything else has to take a back
seat," Fritz told the AP after the election.


  1. Bill says

    So, they are held hostage by 47% of people with a different world view. Now where have I heard that before? Just goes to show that politics doesn’t have a good side.

  2. KP says

    This just shows why Democrats are such a shaky ally for us. We also have to drag them kicking and screaming to do the right thing.

  3. Sam says

    So basically we are right back where we started. DFL was slow to take up the bill until 2010. Republicans take both chamber for the first time in 40 years and pass a marriage amendment, hoping it would turn out their bases (it did the opposite as the article stated). Now the DFL was put back in charge, they don’t want to take up the issue.

    My personal opinion, I say do what Washington state did and go the incremental approach. Go for civil unions now, get marriage later. It has worked in the past and it will work again.

    Either that or wait to see how the court case turns out.

  4. jomicur says

    Good gosh, wouldn’t it be just awful if constitutional equality for all citizens “takes a front seat” over less pressing issues?

  5. Francis says

    Well, KP, it’s really not specifically a Democrat/Republican issue. It’s a conservative vs liberal issue. It just so happens most conservatives are Republicans and most Republicans are conservative. But there are many social conservative Dems out there.

    Minnesota was the most down the wire vote of the four states that voted on equality a few weeks ago, and that wasn’t even a vote to enact marriage for gay/lesbian couples in the state. Minnesota is still too socially conservative for marriage equality to happen right now. This isn’t a New York or a Washington where legislators will stick their necks out to do the right thing, as disgusting as it is.

    Patti Fritz’ comment is insulting. Human rights violations should always be first on the agenda of change. Her comment reeks of someone who is self-centered and privileged.

  6. says

    Now that the state constitution explicitly says that marriage is only between a man and a woman, couldn’t an “activist” judge strike the law that says only a man and a woman may marry if two men or woman get married and someone challenges the validity of the marriage?

  7. Jere says

    The problem with the incremental approach that the state of Washington took is that its time has passed. WA started their incremental process years ago before marriage equality had really taken root in the country and could be interpreted as a new and scary social experiment. Right now, marriage equality is the law of the land in 9 states and the District of Columbia. By almost all accounts, the Supreme Court will bring it to a tenth state sooner, rather than later. Any state that wants to go the civil union route will have to then justify why their citizens only merit civil unions while citizens in these other states enjoy full marriage rights.

  8. Rick says

    Honestly, not a big fan of the incremental approach. It sends the wrong message and is administratively laborious to do half-way measures (like civil unions) that will inevitably be replaced or amended later. Better to do the hard work now, laying a strong foundation for marriage equality by winning allies — legislators and regular citizen voters — through conversations one at a time.

    Obviously don’t bring this to a legislative vote until the votes are actually there (symbolic defeats don’t do us favors), but once we have a winning majority, then press for full marriage equality. No more of this ‘separate but equal’ civil union/partnership nonsense.

  9. Mike in the Tundra says

    @Garst – I’m certain that made sense in your head, but can you explain it for those us out here.