It seems a bit anticlimactic after last Thursday’s House vote, but the Senate’s decision Monday still made news coast to coast. In the New York Times, Monica Davey reports: “Gay couples will be permitted to wed in Minnesota starting in August, making it the 12th state to permit same-sex marriage and the first in the Midwest to take such a step outside of a court ruling. … Gov. Mark Dayton, also a Democrat, had urged lawmakers to pass the measure and said he would sign the bill on Tuesday afternoon. … opponents said that the bill carried numerous unintended consequences and that Minnesotans needed more time to weigh such a divisive matter. ‘Where does this stop?’ said State Senator Torrey Westrom, a Republican. This choice, he said, will send Minnesota ‘down that road of taking mother and father out of our recognition of what our children need.’ ”
For the Los Angeles Times, Matt Pearce writes: “Three Democratic senators voted against the bill and one Republican voted for it. ‘Love wins!’ state Sen. Roger Reinert, a Democrat, tweeted after passage. A ‘Love Is Law’ celebration was planned for St. Paul on Tuesday after Dayton’s signing of the bill, which was set for 5 p.m. The event was to include live music and a procession from the Capitol lawn to the city’s downtown.”
In The Wall Street Journal, Mark Peters says: “As gay-marriage supporters celebrate a string of victories, they face challenges outside the Northeast and Midwest. Some 30 states have constitutional bans on same-sex marriage that can require a statewide vote to overturn. Such bans haven’t been reversed before, but groups in states including Oregon are pushing for referendums. Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court next month is expected to rule on challenges to California’s ban on same-sex marriage and to the federal Defense of Marriage Act — decisions that could have broad implications for the marriage debate. … Opponents argued that gay marriage runs counter to biblical teachings and threatens religious liberties. They expressed concerns that churches, schools and businesses in the future could be accused of discrimination because of their opposition to homosexuality. ‘There is a lot of celebrating going on today, but there is also a lot of grieving going on today,’ said state Sen. Dan Hall, a Republican who opposed the legislation.”
Cheryl Wetzstein in The Washington Times says: “Republican state Sen. Dan D. Hall warned that ‘this document will bring civil disobedience’ and ‘split’ churches, schools and communities. ‘We’re nullifying every reference to a faith when it comes to marriage,’ said Sen. Warren Limmer, one of the Republicans who supported adding a religious-protection amendment to the bill. ‘I think there’s a lot of unintended consequences,’ said Sen. Torrey N. Westrom, a Republican who worried words such as ‘mother,’ ‘father,’ ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ will eventually be stricken from Minnesota laws.” I mean, is that even a serious comment?
Paul Tosto of MPR says: “Both sides acknowledged Minnesotans remained painfully divided over the question. While voters rejected a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage last November, 47 percent wanted it. In most precincts outside the metro areas, a majority of voters backed the ban. A survey earlier this spring showed a majority still don’t support same-sex marriage. The vote came largely along party lines. Three DFL senators — Lyle Koenen of Clara City, LeRoy Stumpf of Plummer and Dan Sparks of Austin — voted against the measure. One Republican, Sen. Branden Petersen, R-Andover, voted for it. The bill provides legal protections for religious groups that don’t want to marry same-sex couples. … Wedding photographers and others who make a living off weddings but don’t believe in gay marriage would be put in a position of being put out of work or ‘violating their core beliefs,’ said Sen. Sean Nienow, R-Cambridge.” … Oh, please.
The other big news … the Vikings’ new palace. At ESPN, Kecvin Seifert writes of the revealed design: “The features include what the team said is the largest transparent roof in the world via the first clear ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) usage in a U.S. stadium. It will also have the ‘largest glass pivoting doors in the world,’ the team said. The doors will open to the west plaza and, presumably, the Minneapolis skyline. Skyways will connect the stadium to downtown parking and other buildings. Many of you are looking for an immediate reaction to the design. I know less about engineering, architecture and design than I do football. I’m not big into aesthetics. I barely know how to wear matching clothes. Honestly, the first thing I thought of was the Fortress of Solitude, but that’s more a comment on my limited reference points than the design itself.”
On the fanboy site Bleacher Report, Tim Keeney writes: “One of the main questions surrounding the new $975 million stadium was whether or not it would have a retractable roof, and we now have our answer in the form of a movable window that is capable of opening up the stadium on warm days. Simply put, that’s really cool. Moreover, the stadium is designed so that ‘Vikings fans will be closer to the action than any stadium in the country.’ So often fans at football games feel like they’re watching from a blimp, and it’s encouraging to see the designers take that into account. But from a functional standpoint, the Vikings appear to have accomplished their goal of providing an outdoor element and feel without splurging on a retractable roof that likely would have been closed for more than half of the team’s games. And as many of you have noted, the sloped roof is good for snow removal.” Not to be all contentious and ruin the fun, but I can think of a couple more “main questions” still to be answered.
The Strib editorial board, which generally has ears for the concerns and laments of the “top earners” and “job creators” says today: “[A]fter four months of launching a flotilla of tax ideas, the Legislature’s DFL majorities and Gov. Mark Dayton unveiled a final 2014-15 state budget outline that, on the revenue side of the ledger, is more notable for its omissions than its contents. … But the plan’s tax features are a disappointment. They raise revenue in a way that puts Minnesota’s economic competitiveness at risk. Particularly worrisome is a new marginal tax bracket that will apply to the state’s top 2 percent of incomes. … property taxes in Minnesota rank in the middle range among the states, according to the nonpartisan Washington-based Tax Foundation. They aren’t putting Minnesota at a competitive disadvantage. High income taxes are. DFLers would do well to shrink their property tax relief budget for the sake of a somewhat lower top income tax rate.” And … ignore the likelihood that property tax relief translates to increased sales of goods and services.
Well, O.J. was back in court, too … Dave Phelps of the Strib says: “The case of the United States of America vs. Thomas Joseph Petters has never been boring. … His latest revelation, filed late Friday, claims that his defense attorney, Jon Hopeman, failed to inform Petters of an offer from prosecutors to cut a deal for a 30-year prison sentence. Through a new defense attorney, Steven Meshbesher, Petters has asked the federal judge who presided over his trial to hold a new hearing that would allow Petters to plead guilty and receive the government’s purported lesser sentence. … In the meantime, the attorney-client privilege confidentiality link between Hopeman and Petters was waived by[U.S. District Judge Richard] Kyle, a decision that gives Hopeman the opportunity to file his own affidavit about his conversations with prosecutors.” Ohhhh, that could be fun …