Gov. Mark Dayton learned a valuable political lesson while sitting in a downpour a few years ago.
Dayton was attending the dedication ceremonies of the library of President Bill Clinton.
The outdoor dedication was held in a downpour, which seemed to go unnoticed by the dignitaries, who were comfortably seated and speaking from a comfortably sheltered stage.
Dayton, along with the rest of the audience, was seated in the rain for an event that went on for three hours. Unkind things were being muttered about the dignitaries who spoke on and on.
All of this came back to the governor as he an attended Thursday’s outdoor Capitol rally in support of same-sex marriage. Nasty, heavy sleet was falling.
Rather than speaking from the sheltered podium that had been set up, Dayton stepped out from under cover.
“I don’t believe I should be under shelter while you’re standing in the rain,’’ Dayton told the crowd of a few hundred people.
His action was applauded, as were his words in support of same-sex marriage.
Among other things, Dayton poohpoohed the alternate idea proposed by some legislators to approve “civil unions,” rather than marriage, for same-sex couples.
“People don’t want to be civiled-unioned,’’ he said. “They want to be married.’’
He called marriage “a fundamental right’’ under the Constitution.
“Now we have to count on elected officials to turn a ‘no’ [the defeat of the marriage amendment] to a ‘yes’ [legislative approval of same-sex marriage],’’ Dayton said.
Before and after the rally, proponents of same-sex marriage were to seek out members of the Legislature to drum up support for the change in Minnesota law.
“Good luck,’’ Dayton told them. “We’re going to get this through. Be respectful, but be persuasive.’’