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Political boomerang: GOP’s defeated amendment put same-sex marriage on fast track

GOP State Sen. Warren Limmer
MinnPost photo by Terry Gydesen
GOP State Sen. Warren Limmer speaking to Minnesota March for Marriage rally attendees on Thursday in the Capitol Rotunda.

The issue of same-sex marriage has become a story of boomerang politics in Minnesota this year.

It was, ironically, Republicans who made same-sex marriage a headline issue in this session. It was their push for a constitutional amendment that would have restricted marriage to a man and a woman which boomeranged into putting same-sex marriage on a fast track.

Without that proposed amendment, which was defeated last November, many of those now leading the fight to legalize same-sex marriage say they believe the issue would have been put off, as it has been for years, to some foggy point in the future.

Yes, there would have been rallies, such as the one staged at the Capitol Thursday. But most believe it’s unlikely that without the GOP’s amendment same-sex marriage would have arrived at the Capitol with the urgency seen now.

“We didn’t ask to be thrust into this conversation,’’ said Richard Carlbom, campaign manager for Minnesotans United for Marriage, which was the broad coalition that was formed to fight the amendment and is pushing for same-sex marriage now.

But the just when it appeared that Minnesota was on the cusp of legalizing same-sex marriage that boomerang may have swooped again.

On Wednesday, the Star Tribune published results of their Minnesota poll showing that 53 percent of Minnesotans oppose making same-sex marriage legal, 38 percent support legalization and 9 percent are undecided.

Tight vote

This was always going to be a tight, controversial vote.  Does the poll stop momentum that seemed to be building for legalization of same-sex marriage?

Rep. Steve Simon, a major supporter of legalization, says the bill will move forward. It is to go to the Civil Law committee, which is chaired by Rep. John Lesch, DFL-St. Paul, next week. That committee, friendly to same-sex marriage, is the only committee which will hear the bill before it goes to the House floor.

Simon admits he was surprised and disappointed by the numbers in the Minnesota Poll. But, like all pols on the negative side of poll numbers, he believes there are reasons for the results.

“It’s all in the way you ask the polling question,’’ Simon said.

He said he believes the key for most Minnesotans surrounds religious issues.

When they learn that the Minnesota law that would allow same-sex marriage “aggressively protects religions’’ from being forced to perform same-sex marriages, a solid majority of Minnesotans will be comfortable with the law.

There still are arms to be twisted, expecially in the House where most expect the margin will be razor thin either for or against.

But the belief is that when the bill does hit the House floor, it will mean that leadership knows there’s enough votes to pass the marriage bill and that by Aug. 1, there will be pictures in the media of same-sex couples being married.

That all of this is happening so quickly surprises virtually everybody, including those who fought so hard to defeat the marriage amendment.

Even in the days following the victory over the marriage amendment, there was careful discussion among Minnesotans United leaders and other groups as to whether it was too soon to push for marriage.

Within a week of their triumph, anti-amendment leaders were talking about “if’’ the time was right to go for same-sex marriage, Carlbom said. Within two weeks, there was a strong sentiment to make the push “now.’’

Certainly, most state political leaders were cautious at the beginning of the session. Recall, Gov. Mark Dayton, House Speaker Paul Thissen and Senate majority leader Tom Bakk all were using such phrases as “hold a conversation with Minnesotans” when questions of same-sex marriage came up.  This session, all three said, should be dedicated to fixing the budget.

Dayton has since become much more an advocate of legalizing same-sex marriage and there’s little doubt that Thissen, in his soul, is supportive of the cause.

Budget No. 1 priority

The concern remains that same-sex marriage steals the headlines from the budget issues that DFLers continually say should be the No. 1 priority of the session.

But it could easily be argued that same-sex marriage is the bigger historical issue. There always will be budget issues to resolve.

And straights and gays alike whose groundswell of interest propelled the DFL to victories in both legislative chambers are watching. A tepid response from party leaders could pose more of a problem in the next election if those same voters are not energized to stay involved.

In a further irony, GOP members who vote yes may help to broaden the base for a party that badly needs to attract greater numbers of gays, women and immigrants. As popular opinion nationwide turns in favor of same-sex marriage rights, the risk of turning away from the religious right on this issue lessens.

Finally, much as Minnesotans United’s carefully crafted anti-amendment messages gave ambivalent voters permission to change their mind about the issue and to frame it as a question about the importance of family. These themes are readily apparent in statements made by former state auditor Pat Anderson, Sen. Branden Petersen, R-Andover, and other GOPers in favor of Senate File 925.

Minnesota March for Marriage rally attendees
MinnPost photo by Terry GydesenMinnesota March for Marriage rally attendees holding signs and banners in the Capitol Rotunda Thursday afternoon.

Once it’s clear there are enough votes to pass the bill, its arrival on the House and Senate floors could very well deliver more decisive majorities as lawmakers get caught up in the anticipated emotional groundswell.

Rep. Karen Clark, DFL-Minneapolis, recalls vividly speeches by people whose support of the human rights amendment surprised – and thrilled – her during the 1993 legislative session when state legislators expanded basic civil rights to gay, lesbians, bi-sexual and transgender people.

For example, a conservative DFLer, Charles Brown, an auctioneer from Appleton, spoke passionately of why, after much thought, he would support the civil rights bill.

“He stood on the floor,’’ recalled Clark, “and told us how when he was elected he’d promised his mother that ‘I will always try to do the right thing.’ Then, he turned to the gallery and said he was supporting the bill and said “it is the right thing.’’

On the Senate side, it was Dean Johnson, then Republican minority leader, who gave the most compelling speech of the day.

Johnson, who later would become a DFLer, admitted he was afraid of expanding civil rights to GLBTers.

“But we were elected to lead, to do what is right and to do what is just,’’ he said.

From-the-heart passion

Clark, who was first elected in 1980 and was among the first openly lesbian elected officials anywhere in the country, believes she’ll see the same sort of from-the-heart passion from legislators this session.

“This is so much like 1993,’’ she said, “and I think so many will vote as they did in 1993. They’re going to decide that this is the right thing to do.’’

But she also said that this issue came forward now because of the amendment, though in the immediate wake of the November victory over the amendment she wasn’t sure that this was the time to push forward.

“I don’t know the exact timing of when I thought now was the time,’’ she said. “I just knew that Minnesotans had spoken.’’

She said legislators supporting same sex marriage are moving cautiously, much as legislators who promoted GLBT civil rights moved 20 years ago.

“We’re very carefully listening to the needs of legislators,’’ she said. “We’re carefully explaining that this is a civil marriage bill with exceptions for religions.  We’ve spelled that out carefully. There can’t be a doubt about that. Your church, your religion, can’t be required to marry anyone.’’

Gregory Angelo is national director of Log Cabin Republicans, an organization devoted to the rights of GLBTers.  Angelo repeatedly points out that equal-marriage protection means “civil marriage.’’ It doesn’t require churches to marry individuals if that marriage would violate the religious beliefs of a church.

“Some churches would marry, others would not,’’ he said.

There is no doubt in Angelo’s mind that it was the Republican push to restrict, in the state’s constitution, marriage that has led to the pushback. He also believes that the amendment was filled with faulty “political calculus.’’

“The amendment was an effort to apply a Karl Rove strategy from 2004 to 2012,’’ Angelo said.  “They thought the amendment would activate the base and put Minnesota in play in the presidential race. It turned out that just the opposite happened.’’

That story played out across the country,  Angelo said. He said that in 2008, nearly a third of the GLBT vote went to Republican candidate John McCain. Last fall, that number fell to 25 percent. The cause: The hard turn right on social issues by GOP presidential candidates seeking the nomination.

“It was a real turnoff,’’ Angelo said. “Republicans seemed like a lost cause.’’

He believes that the GOP learned a painful lesson. He also said that his organization is working on Minnesota politicians to make them understand there’s “no gain’’ in opposing such “conservative values as love, commitment and marriage.’’

It’s unclear whether Log Cabin Republicans have any impact on any pols in Minnesota. On the surface, at least, that organization seemed to be a greater factor two or three decades ago than now.

Other measurements

But there are other political measurements that keep coming out.

This week, Third Way, an organization which claims to represent “the vital center’’ of political thought, released a study showing that, nationally,  legislators who support equal marriage rights likely haven’t be tossed out of office.  According to the study, 97 percent of those who voted for marriage bills were re-elected. Of the five who were not re-elected, two were under investigation for corruption. The study also showed that 85 per cent of Republicans who supported equal marriage bills since 2010 have held onto their seats.

Sen. John Marty thinks most pols are over-thinking this whole issue. Immediately after the marriage amendment was defeated, Marty made it clear he was going to again introduce legislation that would allow same-sex marriage. Ultimately, though, he deferred to Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, an openly gay man who worked tirelessly to defeat the amendment.

Marty recently recalled his final conversation with the late Sen. Allan Spear, among the first in the nation to announce that he was gay and the main force behind the expansion of civil rights to GLBTers in 1993.

“One of my last conversations with Allan was about this (marriage),’’ Marty said. “It was the year he died (2008). He said ‘We’re not going to get marriage equality.’ He thought we should fight for civil unions. I said, ‘separate is not equal and you know it.’ I think back to that time. Things have changed that much, that fast.’’

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Comments (40)

Minor cannon fodder.

Once again, we see children pushed to the barricades as champions of their parents beliefs. I look at the photos and wonder "Which of these boys and girls will come out one day?"

Those of us who have concluded that sexual orientation is a physiologically determined spectrum of responses can only wonder where along the line lie those who believe sexual attraction can be induced. It must be hell to fear another's sexuality so greatly.

children pushed into the barriacades

I wonder how many of these kids being used by their parents are secretly gay. These are the kids who will be driven to suicide because of their understanding that their parents hate them for being gay

Nationally about 3000 of a total of about 9000 kids every year who committ suicide are known to be gay. And that doesnt include the kids for whom no obvious answer to why they committed suicide - obviosly some of them are gay also.

My best friend is a 28 year old gay man whose mother fell under the spell (witchcraft yes) of focus on the family. She told him that he would burn in hell, he would nt end up in heaven etc. He tried twice to commit suicide by overdosing on anti-anxiety pills and the second time it was about 180 of those pills. His parents were told he wouldnt survive but he did

His father threw the mother out of the house and divorced her

l;ast weekend I was with him when he took a 91 year old widow to the Smithsonian museum in DC to the Imax theatre there. Her hunsband died 5 years ago, she never had any no children and has no close relatives who care about her

She said it was the nicest day she had in a year. Thats the type of person he is.

But his experience with his mother and the FOF is just another example of how Conservative relgion posions everything.

Some of us are proud of America. But we should remember that we were the second to last to end slavery in the westernized world, and the only nation to need a war to do so. And then came segregation for aother hundred years.

All justified as per the bible - words written and re-written, translated and re-translated - not about god but about ego, money and power.

The same kind of words that were used to also justify bans on inter-racial marriage to protect the sanctity of the white race - words I remember from 1967 wwhen the conservatives were screaming abut Scotus tossing all the remianing laws that banned inter-racial marriage - once 41 states, but then down to 13 states - 1967 - the year I got married

With not thought that my daughter to be 32 years later would marry an asian.

Cites please

Please don't misunderstand. I am in total support of marriage equality. But one thing posters on this site try to do is make sure that factual claims are backed up with sources. And so I would like to request that you identify the source of your statement that "Nationally about 3000 of a total of about 9000 kids every year who committ suicide are known to be gay".

If you don't remember where that came from, then please just state that to be the case. But the strongest positions are built on a well-supported framework - no matter which side is being expressed. So if you do have a source citation, that would be really helpful.

Thanks!

Just one poll

It was just one poll, and we haven't heard nearly enough about the particulars of it.

As pointed out in the article (and well known otherwise), poll results can hinge quite a bit on what questions are asked, how they are asked, and what is the knowledge level of the subject by the person being polled.

I don't think the results of that single poll should be enough to justify halting this momentum.

Same Sex Marriage

I have been trying to get my legislators interested in repealing that old statute that non-recognises the 'common-law' marriage. It is time to recognise those marriages.

Sacrificing the Poor again

Everyone knows that in the swing districts that make up control of the MN Housethe populace is strongly opposed to this. There is a strong possibility that if these members vote yes as many want to do they will lose their next election.So DFL'ers have a choice. Wait two years to let the new policies in every other area of government settle in and re-make Minnesota in the way so many of us believe is our real soul-bringing justice and equity to the working poor and give two years for the rural population to get used to this idea. The alternative is to give the middle class gay population something they very much deserve but likely lose the next election. I for one am on the side of the poor and won't trade their interests in for people who know they will succeed some day in having marriage equality. But if history is any guide the DFL will cater to their well funded bases and leave the poor behind-just as every other unjust oppressive society has done for millenia. Go ahead and do it but I'm done with the DFL. So too won't many gay affluent folks return to their selfish Republican roots when you have given them their way.

disingenuous

"[The proposed law] doesn’t require churches to marry individuals if that marriage would violate the religious beliefs of a church."

None of its opponents claim that it does; this is a straw man. The real civil rights/freedom of conscience question is, will photographers, banquet-hall operators, and others who cater to wedding clients, who do not recognize the government's new definition of marriage, be forced out of business by discrimination lawsuits for following their consciences? Such protection needs to be written into any such legislation if its backers want to be able to credibly claim that they are not seeking to force anyone to do anything they find morally objectionable.

Speaking of straw ...

"will photographers, banquet-hall operators, and others who cater to wedding clients, who do not recognize the government's new definition of marriage, be forced out of business by discrimination lawsuits for following their consciences?"

Ask yourself the same question about race. Remember when people insisted it was their God-given right to refuse service to blacks, even in "public" restaurants? I do. Those were ugly times. If you're in a business to serve the public, then serve the public. If you only want to serve your friends and family, then you're not pursuing a business but rather a hobby. EVERYONE is entitled to courteous treatment, regardless of your imaginary religious biases (yes, imaginary -- show me where Jesus said WORD ONE about homosexuality OR abortion).

On The Money

None of its opponents are making that claim? It doesn't look like a straw man argument based on Senator Hall's comments. It didn't take me more than a minute to pull up this recent quote via Google, posted 2.27.13.

Sen. Dan Hall of Burnsville said the bill would exempt churches from being forced to perform same-sex weddings. But if it became law, he predicted, that eventually could change.

"Once you open the door, you're not going to be able to shut it," said Hall, a pastor. "I personally will go to jail before I ever perform a marriage to a homosexual."

http://www.twincities.com/minnesota/ci_22678196/minnesota-gay-marriage-b...

Minnesota Law

Minnesota Law already prohibits discrimination in public accommodations based on sexual orientation.There is no reason whatsoever to offer an exemption from that law to businesses open to the public that happen to provide wedding services.

A reading of the proposed legislation reveals an exemption for accommodations owned by religious groups. Churches and their affiliates will not be forced to rent their facilities to couples whose marriages they disapprove.

It is not the job of photographers, florists, and others in the wedding injury to judge the people who are planning to marry in accord with the state law.

We didn't shelter them when

We didn't shelter them when they refused to serve racial minorities; why cater to them now?

Why?

If a photographer refused to shoot the wedding of a mixed-race couple, even if they did so on religious grounds, they would be liable for a civil rights violation. Similarly, a banquet hall that was going to rent only to Trinitarian Protestants would, unless it was affiliated with a church, be held to be in violation of civil rights laws.

Why should the standard be any different for gay marriage?

Right, fine, y'all.

Just stop claiming that changing the definition of marriage won't affect anyone else's life, that's all I'm saying. It will.

Of course it will

It will allow ALL couples who are in love and wish to get married to do so.

And all we are asking you for

And all we are asking you for is proof that it will.

And you keep dodging us.

I had...

I replied to you, but the censors didn't let it through. It was not inflammatory in any way, so I don't know why. But anyway, never mind. Keep patting yourselves on the back.

Your original post

I went back to re-read your original post to see what kinds of "affects" you were so terribly concerned about and found that it closed with this statement:

"Such protection needs to be written into any such legislation if its backers want to be able to credibly claim that they are not seeking to force anyone to do anything they find morally objectionable."

So this isn't about anyone "patting themselves on the back". This is about where the line appropriately gets drawn when it comes to "forc(ing) anyone to do anything they find morally objectionable." And the law says that when you serve the public, your right to refuse service based on your "moral objections" is trumped by protections for the civil rights of the persons you serve (the public).

The rules change when we're talking about strictly religious institutions operating under their religious mission. But that's not what we're talking about here.

Again from your original post, "will photographers, banquet-hall operators, and others who cater to wedding clients, who do not recognize the government's new definition of marriage, be forced out of business by discrimination lawsuits for following their consciences?" Kindly tell me how "photographers, banquet-hall operators, and others who cater to wedding clients" fit into the definition of "religious institutions operating under their religious mission".

The answer, of course, is that they don't. They are public businesses serving the public, and if they don't like serving gay clients, that's just too bad. The law says they don't get to discriminate, and if they do, well then, it is absolutely appropriate that they should be sued.

If they can't deal with the reality of that, then maybe they should find another business to get into.

Changing the definition of

Changing the definition of marriage to allow miscegenation probably "affected" someone else's life, I still don't see why we should care about their feelings. Additionally, we've never claimed that expending the definition of marriage won't affect anyone - it's going to affect many same-sex couples who presently cannot get married.

Even so, you're still wrong on just about every count. As Beth-Ann Bloom adroitly pointed out, it's already illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation. Same-sex marriage has absolutely nothing to do with it. If you want to make it okay for businesses to be discriminatory, you need to have complained back in 1993, when sexual orientation was added to the Minnesota Human Rights Act. (or really, before the Civil Rights Act of 1964)

As to the second dead horse you keep beating, we don't even have to go more than one state away to debunk it. Iowa has had same-sex marriage for four years next month. A few months after it became legal in Iowa, a staggering 92% of people polled agreed that "marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples had led to 'no real change' in their own lives." Quite independent of their thoughts on gay marriage generally, only eight percent of people experienced any real change in those six months, and you can be sure things changed for the better if you were gay.

and we can bet that the few

and we can bet that the few % who said same sex mamiage affected them were gay people, who to quote a younger gay friend said to me

"'For the first time in my life I feel like I am a full citizen of this country."

And lets note that all the doom and gloom and horror shows of the right wingers dont come to pass. The more gay people who can marry / get married, the more the general populace sees that its good for the institution of civil marriage

Which btw is being wrecked by the str8s who divorce at a 50% rate, and those single moms who by choice have children and find it impossible to make it economically etc

bigotry

It will show us who the bigots are and in time they will go to their grave, unwept , unsung and be seen as the same type of rotten people who justified bans on inter-racial marriage to protect the sanctity of the white race.

Gay Marriage

When I was studying for PhD in Human Resources, one of the requirements was an intensive study into the various major religions and was based on the idea that HR handles religious related problems and policies for almost all companies. One of the facts that astounded me was that until the middle ages, most religions allowed polygamy and gay marriage. I was further astounded by the fact that the Catholic religion had several popes who had male spouses and several who had multiple wives. I was further surprised, especially since I had attended a Catholic school, that today's Catholic Bible was not written by a religious person, but was put together by Alexander the Great to meet is needs at that time. He omitted approximately 35 books . I also learned the book of Peter was written by somebody else. Scholars use a different term for this phenomenon and call such books "pseudepigrapha." It may be one of the greatest ironies of the Christian scriptures that some of them insist on truth, while telling a lie. For no author is truth more important than for the "Paul" of Ephesians. He refers to the gospel as "the word of truth" (1:13); he indicates that the "truth is in Jesus"; he tells his readers to "speak the truth" to their neighbors (4:24-25); and he instructs his readers to "fasten the belt of truth around your waist" (6:14). And yet he himself lied about who he was. He was not really Paul. Most Catholic and Protestant scholars know that the bible contains lies, but they don't tell anybody about it. I suggest everyone should these books.

Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard Elliot Friedman, 1987

Understanding the Old Testament, by Bernhard W. Anderson, 1986

The Art of Biblical Narrative, by Robert Alter, 1981

The Religion of Israel, by Yehezkel Kaufmann (trans: Moshe Greenberg), 1948

Surpassing Wonder, by Donald H. Akenson, 1998

Fearmongering and Lies Do Not Make Us "Faithful"

The fact that "Minnesotans for (Straights-only) Marriage" folks can only come up with lies, misinformation and distortions, all long since proven to be false, to support their cause makes me sad.

I'm saddened that people who regard themselves to be sincere and sincerely religious, are so dominated by their doubts and fears about their own internal (and likely suppressed) sexual attractions, and those of their loved ones,...

and so insecure about their ability to honestly deal with those attractions should they allow themselves to become aware of them,...

that they feel the need to try to control the lives of everyone else in the entire society as a vain attempt to beat down what they're terrified might be lurking in their own souls and psyches.

My theology and my experience of God's presence and guidance tells me that God did not intend for people to respond to the challenging things God has designed into many if not most of God's people with terror and self loathing, but rather,...

to embrace the people God created each of us to be, then seek God's help, God's guidance, and God's inspiration, as to how God might like us to live in the world in ways that bring the reign of God's love closer to reality,...

not only for ourselves, but for the people who surround us nearby and those with whom we share this planet.

There is, of course, every possibility that the guidance and inspiration God might now offer us will not be identical to that which God offered our ancestors. Indeed, if we follow the history of God's relationship with humanity, as described in the Bible, and the history of our faith(s), we find that God offered inspiration and guidance that was tailored to each generation in its own time and place, according to the circumstances that generation faced,...

that successive generations defined faithfulness to God in very different ways,...

and that we, ourselves, are likely to discover that the same is true for us.

Let our question then become, "what is it that you are seeking to inspire us to be and to do in our own day and time, God?" with Jesus as our example of what form those Spirit-created inspirations in our thinking, our emotions, our imaginations, and our intuitions might take,...

and finding in the scriptures, not a few scattered verses that support what we already believe, and behind which we can hide rather than turning to God anew for the inspiration we need now,...

not verses to which we can point to prove that we are correct,...

and thereby, in our pride and insecurity, push God away lest God have other ideas,...

but rather, in examining the history of God's people seeking to be faithful to God, and God, seeking how best to guide and inspire God's people through the history of the Judeo-Christian faith (and other faiths, as well),...

discover the reality that yesterday's "answers," even those found in Scripture, even when found in the writings of our Reformation founders, were not exactly what God sought to inspire in later generations,...

nor are they likely to be what God is asking of us and seeking to inspire in us today.

The old formula "Law and Gospel" requires us only to be faithful to the past. Unless we include the necessity to seek, to discern, and be faithful to God's new inspirations, to God's "call" we are leaving God in the past, as well; denying that God is present and active in our world and in our lives and making God a relic no more useful to our lives than a tarnished cross or chalice stored away and forgotten in some dusty attic.

The call for our own generation of those who seek faithfulness to God is, as it has always been for each generation, is to turn back to God directly and ask what God is asking of us NOW. The inspirations God offered to previous generations, though useful examples of what God did in the lives of our ancestors, are never sufficient for our own day and time.

We must turn back to God directly, and turn back to God directly again, and turn back again and again, always with the question, "how can I serve you now?" firmly in our minds and hearts and souls and imaginations (which is what the word commonly translated "repentance" being a continuous-action verb in the original Hebrew, means - continuously turning back to God). Turning to the Bible is not sufficient. Neither is turning to history. We must turn to God.

There are many of us who sense that we are inspired by God to seek for the equal rights of our GLBT brothers and sisters up to and including marriage in our churches.

We find ample support in the scriptures and the example of Jesus for such inclusion and remain suspicious that the opposition to the full inclusion of GLBT folks in society is not faithfulness at all, but resistance to God's inspiration and guidance,...

and that attempts by our more "conservative" sisters and brothers to use tradition and scripture in opposition to that inclusion do not to reflect faithfulness to God,...

but rather, represent attempts to use those ancient sources as a shield behind which our "conservative" brothers and sisters seek to hide from God and deny God's right to call them to new forms of faithfulness,...

as well as denying their responsibility to respond to the inspirations God is creating within them day by day.

As was said of Jesus himself, if this effort to fully include GLBT folks in society, to treat them as equally beloved children, created by God, is "of God" there will be no way to stop it. If it is not of God it will fade away and be forgotten.

This is one of the most amazing

things I've ever read. I would never have known how to sum up my thoughts and feelings in words that mean so much. Thanks, Greg.

I wonder if I could copy and share your comment on my Facebook page...properly attributed, of course.

Don't like it?

Those who object to same-sex marriages obviously should not engage in them. I don't like fish, so I don't feel compelled to order it on Fridays, even during Lent. By the same token, what difference does it make to my hamburger if someone at the next table orders fish? For heaven's sake, get your nose out of your neighbor's business and tend to your own.

following their consciences

It might not be just the business owners who suffer from discrimination lawsuits for following their consiciences, but also people who exercise their rights to free speech or free thought. Someone who says publicly that marriage is limited to one man and one woman might be labeled a bigot and punished just for speaking. Belonging to a religious group that advocates only heterosexual marriage, even if the individual said or did nothing negative to or about gay married couples, might be enough to trigger a lawsuit or government discrimination. It's not enough to write the legislation protecting churches from performing ceremonies.

"Punished just for speaking"

How? I don't see anything in the proposed marriage law that would repeal the First Amendment.

"Someone who says publicly that marriage is limited to one man and one woman might be labeled a bigot and punished just for speaking." First of all, sticks-and-stones. I'm sure you've never referred to anyone to the left of you politically as a communist, but it happens, and I, for one, have grown a thick skin. Second, consider interracial marriage. It has been legal throughout the US since the Loving decision (best case name ever!), but many had/have a "religious" objection to it (Deuteronomy 7:3-4, among other things). Has anyone ever been prosecuted for such a belief? Why was Elroy Stock never put in prison?

"Belonging to a religious group that advocates only heterosexual marriage, even if the individual said or did nothing negative to or about gay married couples, might be enough to trigger a lawsuit or government discrimination." You don't know much about discirimination laws, do you?

What matters here is the law

It's hard to respond to your post, because it meanders all over the landscape with all the "what if" scenarios you imagine. But imaginary scenarios don't matter here. What matters here is the law.

The law provides for separation of church and state, hence it makes legal sense that religious institutions cannot legally be compelled to perform a sacrament in violation of their dogma.

But outside of religion you enter the public sphere, and if I wish to operate a business open to the public, then I have to follow all the same laws that protect everyone, irrespective of my or their religious beliefs (or lack thereof).

If someone has a problem with that, then they probably should pick another way to earn their daily bread.

Marriage as a civil right

As I threaded my way through the crowd of anti-LGBT civil marriage people at the Capitol yesterday, I was tempted to seize the microphone and ask for a show of hands from those whose own marriages and family harmony had been damaged --I repeat, DAMAGED, harmed, ruined -- by the civil marriage of a few loving couples across the border in Iowa. What damage, folks? Be specific. Isn't your own marriage just as strong or as weak as it would otherwise have been?
I served in the State Senate with Allan Spear, the first gay senator anywhere in this country, and that is something that gives me more pride than most of my own legislative achievements.
I am a Catholic, and like most Catholics in the USA, I am offended that my church is so opposed to LGBT rights. And to those of you who are opposed to equal rights for all of us, go home and love your own. You will not be harmed by loving couples seeking equal treatment under the law.
John Milton, Afton, MN

Civil Rights

Well said, John. So many people go on and on about how gays marrying will ruin marriage in some way, yet they can never come up with any concrete examples. We have gay marriage in many states across the country and many countries across the world and none of those societies have fallen apart. So what, specifically, do opponents expect to happen? I'm perplexed on what the perceived damage is supposed to be.

By the way, I love the Afton July 4th parade. I expect I'll be there again this year at the head of the parade with the color guard.

John - you can make a

John - you can make a contribution to various gay groups who are supporting marriage equality and fund it from money that you currently give to your catholic church.

there;'s an old saying about when you've got them by the gonads (in this case money) their hearts and minds will follow.

Though unfortunately it seems from what i've read that the new pope is as retrograde as Ratzinger was on gay rights under the law.

he actually was almost made pope but Ratzi won that round.

Here's btw why I use the name RATZI - it seems to fit btw - my wife is Jewish and her parents had 1st cousins in eastern Europe who were never found again after WWII

http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/erbe/2009/02/05/pope-should-excommun...

How sacred can marriage be

when the forms for a marriage license at the county courthouse are kept next to the ones for building, septic tanks, dog, vehicle and whatever other day-to-day permits? Give "marriage" back to the churches and others who worship that word, but let the state recognize only some form of non-discriminatory domestic partnership status, and then connect all the property, tax, and other legalities, now associated with "marriage" to it and it only.

Apologists!

Why do we keep trying to assure the bigots that granting equal rights to our brothers and sisters won't affect them? I want it to affect them! The civil rights movement helped minorities, but it also made us majorities better people, whether we liked it or not.

If granting equal rights to lgbts disrupts the lives of those of us straights who think we are better than them, history will show that to be a good thing. Dont try to placate them.

Never give a bigot an even break!

Even if their god told them to be a bigot...

Now here's an honest man!

Thank you for openly acknowledging that you want trouble for those who do not fall in line with your preferred orthodoxy. I wish others were so forthright about it.

Wanting trouble?

So you call it "wanting trouble" if people are forced to examine their conscience and possibly even re-evaluate their beliefs?

I wouldn't call that wanting trouble (and I doubt Brian would, either). I'd call it learning to grow up and live in the real world.

Using Children

I don't get these people using their children for these political purposes. It almost approaches child abuse. I wonder how many of these kids were given a choice. It seems like people involved in some of causes, like gun control, opposition to gay marriage are becoming almost cult like in the use of little kids.

Come On, Now

People taking their children to political demonstrations cuts across every political issue there is. School funding, tax cuts, both sides of the gay marriage issue.

I always get a kick out of it when someone knocks one group for doing it, when every group does it.

Count the votes

The bill will need at least 13 Republican votes in the House and 7 in the Senate. Who are they?

Why not just do away with marriage?

I am with Dan Bosch and I love the way he put it, it's next to the dog licenses for heavens sake.

I am not a big believer in marriage I never have been; odd for someone who has been married for 39 years I know but it's quite true. I do appreciate that most people work harder at things if they have to go to court to untangle them.

So follow Dan's recommendation and allow churches to do what ever they want but if you want standing you must dually execute a license of some type from the state.

Do you think that with so many people not being married in church that they are losing significant revenue and need the money?

Catholic church elsewhere

heres an example of whats happening in France, where the lower parliament voted for marriage equality by over a hundred votes more then the objectors. France was once solidly catholic but its religion of backwardness and stone cold treatment of gays and jews has given it what it deserves

Essentailly no one goes to church anymore in France - espeically in the younger generation. Why - because most churches get stuck in the past, and to change anything brings the whole (BS IMO) story into question

From a catholic website...............

http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-church-of-vatican-ii-france...

Lets look at the catholic church as an important part of Ireland society.................the most "catholic" nation in the world

http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/poll-73-of-public-back-allowing-sam...

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2013/0123/breaking38.html

(religion is dead last in Ireland.

And stil they church doesnt get it. Someday - prob in my kids lifetime the sign over the vatican gate will say -

Bankruptcy sale.

Gay marriage

The picture say " the legalization of homosexuality induce children to gay relationships." If that is true why is it that the very vast majority of homosexuals come from straight parents?