REPLAY: Dayton Calls For Same-Sex Marriage
Southwest Minneapolis legislator leading the charge for legalization.
In Wednesday night's State of the State speech, Gov. Mark Dayton made a full-throated plea for the lawmakers to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota.
According to prepared text from the governor's speech sent to reporters, Dayton added this addendum:
Let me mention one other cause, which is controversial, but consistent with my faith and my principles. And, more importantly, consistent with this country’s founding principles and its Constitution. I believe that every Minnesotan should have the freedom to marry legally the person she or he loves, whether of the same or other sex.
Last year, Minnesotans began a conversation about why marriage matters, and we found our common belief that it is about love, commitment, and responsibility. I want Minnesota to be a state, which affirms that freedom for one means freedom for everyone, and where no one is told it is illegal to marry the person you love.
Southwest Minneapolis' Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-61) told Patch that, while Dayton has long been a supporter of same-sex marriage, he thinks the governor's full-throated support will prove significant.
"It shows his willingness to lead on this issue, and spend some political capital," Dibble said. "I think it gives (wavering) legislators space as they make their decisions to do the right thing."
Dibble is widely expected to lead the charge for same-sex marriage in the state legislature this session. In a press release issued while the governor completed his remarks, Dibble said the budget was priority number one.
"The state budget and our economy are the focus at the start of this session, as they should be," the statement reads. "There is also room at the right time to have this conversation, which, consistent with everything else the legislature is working on, is really all about helping families do well.”
In an interview last week, Dibble told Patch that any marriage debate in St. Paul depended on voters.
"It's significant that we can have a debate and an up or down vote on (legalization)," he said. "Like the campaign, we can have a civil conversation. The big variable is the level of engagement people take with their legislators. They've got to show (same-sex marriage supporters) that they're on solid political ground."
In recent days, local anti-gay groups like the Minnesota Family Council have exhorted their Facebook followers and email newsletter subscribers to lobby their legislators against legalizing same-sex marriage, and accused pro-legalization campaigners of trying to "buy" votes in favor of same-sex marriage.
"Minnesotans inherently understand that marriage is more than a government love license," Autumn Leva, a spokeswoman for Minnesota for Marriage, told the Star Tribune. "Authentic marriage is really about a personal promise with a public purpose that benefits everyone, especially kids, parents and our state's economy."