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REPLAY: Same-Sex Marriage Bill Announced Today

Opponents vow half-million dollar offensive to counter legalization.

Wednesday morning, Minneapolis and St. Louis Park legislators are scheduled to introduce a measure to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota.

Watch the announcement live on Patch, courtesy of TheUptake! Tune in to this webpage at 10 a.m.

At 10 a.m., Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-61) and Reps. Karen Clark (DFL-62A) and Steve Simon (DFL-46B) will join Rabbi Michael Latz from Southwest Minneapolis' Shir Tikvah synagogue and United Church of Christ leader Rev. Karen Smith Sellers to formally announce the introduction of a legalization bill. All five were prominent leaders in the defeat of a 2012 state constitutional amendment seeking to ban same-sex marriage.

The legislation is co-authored by state Sen. Branden 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 statement emailed to reporters. “NOM will do everything in our power to defeat any Republican who votes in favor of same-sex marriage."

In the same announcement, NOM 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.

UPDATE 12:39 p.m. 2/27/13: In response to the new legislation the head of same-sex marriage campaigners Minnesotans United for All Families issued the following statement:

“In Minnesota, we don’t turn our backs on family – and this legislation will make that statement as true as possible. No Minnesotan should be singled out and excluded from enjoying a basic freedom, like the freedom to marry the person they love, just because of who they are. There is no substitute for the unique promise of love and commitment inherent to marriage, and it is time for Minnesota state law to extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples.

"Same-sex couples pay taxes in Minnesota. They vote here, run businesses here, and serve in the military on behalf of their fellow Minnesotans. They work hard and contribute to the system just like anyone else, and they have children who deserve to grow up in stable families with married parents. The legislation introduced today – and authored by a bipartisan group of legislators – will ensure that in Minnesota, freedom always means freedom for everyone. Minnesotans United is proud to be mobilizing thousands of grassroots marriage supporters across our state to make sure every legislator in Saint Paul knows that passing this legislation in 2013 is an absolutely priority, and that it is a vote that they will be supported for having the leadership to take.”

Dan Johnson February 27, 2013 at 11:47 PM
Marriage it is a fundamental right of all persons, as affirmed 14 times by the Supreme Court. The only eligibility requirement for fundamental rights is being human. Reasonable restrictions may be made only when a compelling and legitimate governmental interest can withstand judicial scrutiny. Most can agree with the courts that reasonable restrictions include age, ability to demonstrate informed consent, and not being closely related, or currently married. Gender is not a restriction. There is no legitimate governmental interest served by requiring one of each. 10 states now recognize this fact under the law. Procreation ability has never been a requirement for marriage, and therefore fails as a legitimate excuse for denial of equal treatment under the law. Yet even that irrational excuse for discrimination ignores the fact that gay people can and do reproduce, and are raising children either biologically related or adopted. Denial of equal treatment under the law provides no benefit to opposite sex couple families. It only harms same sex couple families needlessly.
Dan Johnson February 27, 2013 at 11:53 PM
Dr. King said: "Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed." He also acknowledged that real change takes time; yet he also warned against the "tranquilizing drug of gradualism" and instructed the oppressed to demand equality now - not on the convenient time schedule of those doing the oppressing. So we must speak out and work for equal rights, not sit quietly and hope those blocking equal treatment will decide to give equality to us as some sort of reward for waiting patiently. All gay people have lived their entire lives being denied the equal treatment of the law promised in the founding documents and required by the 5th and 14th amendments. That is too long to wait for the young people who kill themselves every year because they can't assimilate their sexual orientation with the dehumanizing prejudice they were taught by the law from early childhood. All mainstream medical and social science organizations in the US agree, being gay is a natural expression of human bonding for a minority of the population. It has always been that way, and there is no longer any reasonable or scientifically supportable justification for prejudice and discrimination. We also know for sure, that prejudice and discrimination cause suffering and death. Now is the time to discard the unsupportable prejudice we have been taught from childhood, and remove it from the law.
Dan Johnson February 27, 2013 at 11:57 PM
Life isn't fair. You can be. The law is required to treat all persons equally. The fact we often fail to live up to that requirement only shows why it is important to require it under the law. The founders were well aware the majority would deny equal treatment to the minority if given the chance. That is why they promised equal treatment for all in the founding documents and required it in the constitution. 5th: "No person shall ... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;" 14th: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
Dan Johnson February 28, 2013 at 12:05 AM
In 2009, Julian Bond wrote, "Black people, of all people, should not oppose equality. And that is what gay marriage represents. ... No people of good will should oppose marriage equality. And they should not think that civil unions are a substitute. At best, civil unions are separate but equal. And we all know separate is never equal." John Lewis, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the Defense of Marriage Act, remarked, "I am very happy to see the Judiciary Committee holding hearings to address the issue of marriage equality. But at the same time, I must admit I find it unbelievable that in the year 2011 there is still a need to hold hearings and debate whether or not a human being should be able to marry the one they love." Rev. Dr. William Barber II, North Carolina NAACP chairman, declared, "They're trying to give people, based on their sexuality, a kind of second- or third-class citizenship. We know what that looks like in the NAACP, and we're calling it what it is." Julian Bond testified: "When I'm asked if gay rights are civil rights, my answer is always: 'Of course they are.' Civil rights are positive legal prerogatives, the right to equal treatment before the law. ... There's no one in the United States who does not, or should not, share in enjoying these rights."

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