Marriage in Minnesota
Let me start by saying I support marriage for same sex couples. I think marriage, the public commitment to build a life together and support a family, strengthens our society whether it is between one man and one woman, one man and one man, or one woman and one woman. I am eager for the day Minnesota welcomes this commitment from all. I am particularly excited that this week Minnesotans rejected a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman. Now I’ll get to the harder pill to swallow…
I think Minnesota should move slowly to changing its law to facilitate marriage between same sex couples. If the DFL (Minnesota’s “democrats”) moves to legislate that change ASAP, now that it controls both the legislature and the governorship, it will come back to haunt us all too soon. The conversations opened by the beautiful campaign of Minnesota United need to continue, we need to continue to open hearts and minds to the coming change. We need some time to allay the fears of many friends and neighbors.
I fear some in the party are pushing to make marriage a priority in the next legislative session. I think we first must build a new budget, fund education properly, add some new revenue to the picture, then we will be ready to address marriage. This year should be a year of fundamentals: a year to undo damage done to us by leaders who refused to pay the cost of a vibrant modern society, to avert our slide into mediocrity.
I also note that the marriage amendment drove our voter turnout this year. More citizens voted on the marriage amendment than voted for president! I believe the marriage amendment made our new DFL lead statehouse possible. We will need that turnout again in 2014 if we are to keep the governorship and legislature facing the future. After a year of deep conversations on the issue and some practical accomplishments under our belt, 2014 will be the right time to take on marriage equality. I believe this change will spark joy and reveal the demons of the right as myths. It will be a very positive story for Minnesota. I want that positive energy as close to the next election as possible.
In order to build our constituency for change through respectful conversations, in order to get some important gritty work done in the legislature this year, and in order to place a positive story closer to the next election cycle, I hope Minnesota’s progressive community takes a deep breath, enjoys our recent victory, and targets 2014 as the year of marriage equity in Minnesota.