Gay-marriage advocates hold off celebration plans till Minnesota law is signed

MinnPost photo by Terry Gydesen
Gay marriage supporters cheering the House vote on Thursday afternoon.

Gay-marriage advocates know there will be ceremonial “first weddings” if the law goes into effect on Aug. 1, but even after Thursday’s resounding victory in the House, supporters don’t want to “jinx” their chances by presuming to celebrate already.

Sen. Scott Dibble, the bill’s lead Senate author, says he knows of a few couples that want to get married on Aug. 1, the first day that gay marriage would become legal under the legislation. But he made it clear that advocates aren’t yet planning a “larger community event” to celebrate until after the bill clears the Senate and hits Gov. Mark Dayton’s desk.

Richard Carlbom, who is leading the pro-gay marriage Minnesotans United for All Families campaign, wholeheartedly agreed. He said his team isn’t planning any celebrations past Tuesday, when the governor is expected to sign the bill.

“Folks don’t want to jinx this, and kind of want to take it one day at a time. No big plans in the works as of yet for Aug. 1. Don’t want to jinx or pre-ordain. Even I’m going to knock on wood here,” Dibble said, tapping on the railing of the large Capitol staircase he was walking down shortly after Thursday’s historic House vote to support gay marriage.

“Get the governor’s signature, then we’ll start the party planning,” he said, summing up the feelings of many gay marriage advocates in one, terse sentence.

Rotunda rally follows vote

But the remaining hurdles for gay marriage supporters did little to dampen their celebrations on Thursday.

A rally in the Capitol rotunda just after the vote featured all the key players from their side: Carlbom, Dibble, House Majority Leader Erin Murphy, House Speaker Paul Thissen and Rep. Karen Clark, the bill’s lead House author.

Clark and Dibble waved to a roaring crowd outside the House chamber shortly after that body passed the marriage bill with a bipartisan 75-59 vote. Supporters lost two Democrats, but managed to pick up four Republicans in the final tally.

They moved through the cheering crowd, which was squished into the upper-level corridors of the Capitol’s second floor, and down into the rotunda as the “people’s house” reverberated with advocates chanting, “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”

Clark spread the love around during the rally, saying that lawmakers could never have passed the state’s first step toward gay marriage without supporters like those in attendance Thursday.

Minnesota will become the 12th state to legalize gay marriage if the bill makes it to Dayton’s desk.

Support for those who did ‘right thing’

But Clark was also careful to take note of the challenges ahead.

Majority Leader Erin Murphy agreed that lawmakers would need help even past the Senate vote on Monday, where the measure is expected to breeze through.

“Please keep working, and know that after Monday, we’re going to have to continue the work, have the conversation with everybody in Minnesota as we move in the direction of freedom for all,” Murphy told the gathered crowd.

Thissen was looking even further ahead than Murphy.

“We have to get through the Senate, we have to get the governor’s signature, but it can’t end there,” he said. “We have a lot of people who stood up today to do the right thing, and we are going to need to stand with them in the future, and I know you’re going to do that, because that’s how we got here together. So please don’t go home and let this … end.”

Rep. Joe Radinovich was one of the lawmakers who stood up “to do the right thing,” in Thissen’s eyes, despite having a rural district that likely won’t back his vote. “Today my heart is beating out of my chest,” the DFLer from Crosby said before casting a “yes” vote that could endanger his political future.

Radinovich and other rural Democrats were seen as the crucial swing votes in the weeks leading up to the floor debate, and Radinovich was one that lobbyists and reporters were watching to evaluate how the bill would fare.

Rep. Karen Clark
MinnPost photo by Terry GydesenHouse bill sponsor Rep. Karen Clark joining the rally outside the chamber following the 75-59 vote on Thursday.

Clark said she felt confident that she had the votes Wednesday night but was clearly floored by the 75-vote tally on the board. She also wasn’t as superstitious as Dibble in proclaiming victory in the Senate.

“We’ve got the votes in the Senate,” she said. “This is going to be a law very soon.”

There were also many predictable opponents to the measure, but all lawmakers commented on how fair and respectful the debate was. The calm that fell over the House chamber as lawmakers fought over one of the most politically divisive issues of this era was eerie.

Opponents’ arguments family-focused

The relatively short debate featured family-focused arguments from such GOP lawmakers as Rep. Peggy Scott, a Republican from Andover. She posed many of the issues that gay marriage opponents have raised since the anti-marriage amendment pendulum swung toward legalizing gay marriage this session.

Scott questioned whether the measure would be good for Minnesota’s kids, whether it would be helpful to have a genderless society or whether metro-area Democrats were forcing the issue on the rest of the state.

“While some folks are saying they want more marriage, is that going to be the reality that we experience here in the state of Minnesota?” she asked.

Thursday’s victory for gay marriage supporters was emotional.

Clark, who took a break from hugging her DFL colleagues and grinning to speak with reporters, said she felt “grateful, joyful and so happy.”

“My heart is going strong,” Clark said as supporters’ joyful screams flooded the House chamber. “When you love something and love somebody and love the people, I’m grateful to be part of this process. It’s so much bigger than me and even all the people in here. It’s just really about what that incredible energy out there is, which is love. That’s what it’s about.”

Comments (11)

  1. Submitted by jody rooney on 05/10/2013 - 10:50 am.

    It would have been nice to have a link to how they voted

    Although my Neanderthal legislators probably won’t surprise me.

  2. Submitted by Susan Maricle on 05/10/2013 - 11:23 am.

    Here it is

    By Craig Stellmacher in left.mn:

    http://left.mn/2013/05/marriage-equality-passes-in-the-house/

  3. Submitted by Dee Ann Christensen on 05/10/2013 - 11:56 am.

    My Representative

    I recently met with my representative, Peggy Scott, to discuss gun violence. Her emotional reaction to the marriage equality vote does not surprise me. What did astound me at our meeting was her declaration that, “I never read the StarTribune.” In the political arena, it is important to consider all the aspects of an issue before making a decision and casting a vote.How can a representative make an informed decision when she does not read the largest newspaper in the state even though that paper may advocate for positions she does not want to consider?

    • Submitted by Kenneth Kjer on 05/11/2013 - 08:32 pm.

      Peggy Scott

      I agree with you, she is party advocate and will vote the way the party tells her, not what her constituents want.

      • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 05/12/2013 - 08:40 pm.

        Isn’t she in the 6th District?

        Supposedly the most conservative in the state, supporters of Romney, Bachmann, and of course herself. There is a tiny chance that she voted as her constituents asked her too. As for newspapers no longer being the primary source of news information in the digital age, that might be something to get used to. Perhaps she gets information from hearings, meetings, or even (gasp!) MinnPost.

  4. Submitted by Steve Hoffman on 05/10/2013 - 02:01 pm.

    The distinction

    Miss Manners once wrote “Society is divided, not into liberal and conservative, but into those who feel they should have a say in the private lives of others and those who do not.” Fortunately for Minnesota, the latter group seems to be ascendant of late.

  5. Submitted by James Randolph on 05/10/2013 - 10:10 pm.

    Homosexual marriage

    Part of the reason the amendment to state constitution did not pass in November was the lack of support by such Republican representatives as Andrea Kieffer. Now we have proof of her lack of support as she voted for a civil marriage between homosexuals.

    There are no compelling new reasons from science to support same sex physical unions. The unions remain sterile and fail by either evolutionary or creationist models.

    The real failure seen in this political fiasco is the failure of those clergy who oppose same sex marriage to use the full depth of the imagery of judgment the God of the Bible serves up for what has become known as sodomy. No one mentioned Sodom or Gomorrah.

    The clergy failed (not all of course).
    The voters failed (not all of course).
    The legislators are failing (not all of course)
    We may now begin the watch to see if the God of the Bible fails to respond in a manner consistent with that described in Genesis.
    Lastly some have gone so far as to claim Sodom and Gomorrah were fables. New archeology reveals they not only existed but they were destroyed in a manner that produced “Trinitite”…the melted rock only seen at sites heated to the extent of the Trinity site of the atom bomb tests.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 05/11/2013 - 07:23 am.

      Fear v.s. Love

      Wow. So in your version of the world, the amendment failed and the House vote passed because the leaders didn’t do a good enough job generating a high enough level of fear.

      Of course, for many of us, the amendment failed and the house vote passed because the leaders chose to value love and the right of every couple to full recognition of their committed, loving relationship.

      Fear v.s. Love.

      Hmmmm . . . . . . . .

      I know which one I choose.

    • Submitted by Susanne Wissink on 05/11/2013 - 05:06 pm.

      Sodom and Gomorrah are fables

      Of course some have gone so far as to claim Sodom and Gomorrah were fables. The bible is a collection of fables. Just because you choose to give weight to the authors’ opinions does not mean the rest of us have to. So while you are watching to see if the god of the bible responds in a manner consistent with that described in Genesis I am going to watch my friends celebrate their love and commitment in marriage ceremonies and in their lives.

  6. Submitted by Candi Ince on 05/13/2013 - 09:47 am.

    No Compelling Reasons?

    For those who are in committed same-sex relationships with or without children and for those of us who are their friends and families, there are plenty of compelling reasons to allow these couples the same rights to civil marriage. These are the same reasons every loving, committed couple has for getting married.

    My guess is that your research on the topic is based on studies backed by conservative religious groups instead of on real science. The main study those opposed to same-sex marriage refer to has been discounted as flawed numerous times. Those opposed to granting equal rights offered absolutely no arguments that could be considered legitimate. Studies show married couples are happier and typically have higher incomes. Children grow up no differently with same-sex parents and will only benefit from the sense of stability legal recognition offers. Suggesting fire and brimstone will follow if we grant these equal rights suggests a) you are unfamiliar with the separation of church and state and b) your interpretation of your religion is the only correct one despite the fact that there are plenty of people who are just as devout in their faith as you are yet they disagree with you. Luckily, a majority of our lawmakers aren’t so arrogant.

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