Coming on the heels of New York’s legalization of same-sex marriage, Minnesota is set to be one of the next battleground states for this controversial issue. A proposed constitutional amendment on the 2012 ballot would limit marriage to one man and one woman.
Although Republicans who were strong-armed by Governor Andrew Cuomo were key to same-sex marriage passing in New York, voters are a much harder sell. Pro-marriage organizations such as the National Organization for Marriage and the Minnesota Family Council have a 31-state winning streak on their side when it comes to putting the issue before the people.
Interestingly, former Governor Tim Pawlenty and Rep. Michele Bachmann will each have their own say in the matter since both are registered voters in the state. Both Pawlenty and Bachmann support a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
In 2004, then state Senator Michele Bachmann introduced a marriage amendment that was defeated. The state’s governor at the time was Tim Pawlenty who promised to sign any pro-marriage legislation that crossed his desk.
Chuck Darrell of the Minnesota Family Council applauded state legislators for putting the issue on the ballot.
“Our legislature wisely decided to let the people decide the issue of marriage – not politicians or activist judges,” said Darrell. “For an eighteen month period people are going to talk about the issue around the dinner table, at work and at the coffee shop. I’m confident Minnesotans will come to the conclusion that marriage is important and needs to be protected. We’re looking forward to a civilized debate on the issue.”
Jason Adkins, executive director of the Minnesota Catholic, described the other side as “definitely desperate” in trying to win at the ballot box, according to The Associated Press.
“We expect to be outspent,” he said.
Monica Meyer of OutFront Minnesota told AP, “These ballot measures are so expensive and so divisive. If we can defeat this, it sends a strong message that at some point soon these things just aren’t going to be brought up at all anymore.”
However, the odds are against them.
While supporters of homosexual unions are eager to test the willingness of voters on same-sex marriage, voters are not as sympathetic to the homosexual movement. Typically, when mid-western and southern states are asked to vote on pro-family issues, such measures pass with majorities in the mid-sixties to low seventy percentile.
Bobbie Patray of Eagle Forum of Tennessee is no stranger to marriage issues. In 2006, she was a key player in helping pass Tennessee’s constitutional amendment, stating marriage was between one man and one woman. The amendment passed with 81 percent of the vote – a higher percentage than first estimated.
“My concern is how and when we use the word ‘marriage,’” said Patray. “Marriage is defined biblically as a covenant between one man and one woman. Anything else is simply a union or a legal contract. When voters are reminded of the true definition of marriage, they tend to agree it should be between a man and a woman.”
Democratic Governor Mark Dayton, a supporter of homosexuals unions, was unable to keep the measure away from the voters but vowed to campaign against traditional marriage. Dayton marched in the Twin Cities gay pride parade last Sunday and appeared at fundraisers held by opponents of the amendment.
In a conversation with The Christian Post this week, Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage said their organization would be taking their record of success not only to Minnesota, but also to other states such as North Carolina, the only southeastern state that has not passed a marriage amendment. Polls there show more than 70 percent of voters support the amendment.
Gallagher also said NOM was looking to overturn New Hampshire’s gay marriage law, but admitted that would most likely be a “multiple-year” process.
Correction: Wednesday, June 29, 2011:
An article on Wednesday, June 29, 2011, about Minnesota putting a constitutional amendment of the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman on the 2012 ballot, incorrectly reported that the Tennessee constitutional amendment on marriage passed by a 72 percent vote. The Tennessee constitutional amendment on the definition of marriage was approved by 81 percent of voters.