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Gay marriage: breaking down the (potential) House vote

DFL Legislative leadership is a bit skittish about discussing any Gay Marriage initiatives, but heck, let’s speculate anyway.

The action on gay marriage is going to be in the Minnesota House. We have 134 members — 68 votes are needed for passage.
Courtesy of MN House Public Information Services

I realize that DFL Legislative leadership is a bit skittish about discussing any Gay Marriage initiatives, but heck, let’s speculate anyway.

The action is going to be in the Minnesota House. We have 134 members — 68 votes are needed for passage.

I’m looking at the Political Animal Blog in the Pioneer Press:

House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, declined to comment Thursday, May 2, about whether there are 68 votes — the number required for passage in the House — to legalize gay marriage. He did say it’s “likely” that House Democrats from districts that opposed the marriage amendment will vote to legalize gay marriage. If that’s true, that would make 56 “yes” votes.

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Now, it is difficult to “count” on all 56 to vote that way….so let’s say that 2 will peal off. So we start with 54.

Here is an important swing group:

…17 (Democrats)are from outstate districts where a majority of voters supported the unsuccessful amendment last November that would have banned gay marriage in the state constitution. 

Now…the Political Animal blog asked these seventeen directlly:

At least seven of the 17 “swing Democrats” in the House on gay-marriage say they’ll vote to legalize gay marriage or are leaning toward doing so. 

So add the 7 to the 54 and you get 61 votes.

Here is the breakdown on the 17:

Voting yes: Tom Anzelc of Balsam Township; Carly Melin of Hibbing; Jason Metsa of Virginia; Shannon Savick of Wells; Mike Sundin of Esko. 

Leaning yes: Tim Faust of Hinckley; Joe Radinovich of Crosby. 

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Voting no: Patti Fritz of Faribault; Mary Sawatzky of Willmar. 

Undeclared: Roger Erickson of Baudette; Paul Marquart of Dilworth; Jay McNamar of Elbow Lake; Jeanne Poppe of Austin. 

No comment: Andrew Falk of Murdock; John Ward of Baxter. 

Not yet contacted: David Dill of Crane Lake; John Persell of Bemidji. 

Question — Is Patti Fritz really a Democrat?

So we need 7 votes. Remember we have not counted any Republicans votes at all. I think there should be at least TWO based on past references.

So now we are at 63 (again it would be 65 if we would get 100% of the Democrats from favorable districts).

Getting close…

Now we get to individuals. I like our chances with Paul Marquart. He is a teacher and the Education Finance chair. He is in a tough district but is a veteran legislator and would probably be willing to take a tough vote.

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64.

I am also hopeful about Jeanne Poppe of Austin. She is also an educator and was a member of the Austin Human Rights Commission. Another veteran capable of a tough vote.

65.

Then there is John Persell of Bemidji. His district had a near 50-50 split on the Constitutional amendment (although slightly in the affirmative). He might have the safer vote of the undecideds.

66.

OK, close. Again, if 100% of favorable district Democrats come through we have 68 and passage.

But there is little margin for error.

There is also this….

Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, has said the votes are there in the Senate, and DFL Gov. Mark Dayton has said he’ll sign a gay-marriage bill if it reaches his desk.

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Frankly, if Senator Bakk really has the votes, then he should move that vote. Make it happen. This would put additional pressure on the fence sitters in the House to vote YES. After all, would you want to be the one who stopped gay marriage in Minnesota?

This will be close.

This post was written David Mindeman and originally published on mnpACT! Progressive Political Blog. Follow Dave on Twitter: @newtbuster.

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