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Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Texas less bigoted than Minnesota?

To a liberal Minnesotan, a Texas Republican is pretty much the political equivalent of a Neanderthal. So it is quite surprising to read an article posted to Minnesota Politics Discuss about how Texas Republicans refuse to pass an anti-gay marriage amendment like the one in Minnesota because it "goes too far." See, like our state's proposed ban, the Texas ban would have made not only gay marriage illegal, but any "legal equivalent." This proved to be too much for the Republicans, so they stripped the "legal equivalent" language out of the bill. An attempt to do the same thing here in the Minnesota House failed.

How in the world can we let Texas be better for gay rights than Minnesota? The proposed ban here is evil for two reasons: first, because it bans civil unions, and second, because it would apply to the state an "all political subdivisions." Republicans who espouse local control apparently don't want cities like Minneapolis to decide for themselves whether domestic partner benefits are a good thing or not.

Also on this front is a charge from the head of some wingnut operation called Minnesota Citizens in Defense of Marriage that DFL legislators are misleading the public about the ban. He cites polling data showing that 60% of Minnesotans allegedly support the ban. However, polls show that pluralities or majorities of people support civil unions for GLBT people, which the amendment in the legislature would also prevent. If people knew the facts, they would not support this amendment.

I'm sick and tired of the time spend by the religious right trying to force their morality on the public. Leave marriage to the churches and civil unions to government. That way, a church can marry or not marry whoever they want, whenever they want, although it won't have any legal standing. If the Church of Bigamy wants to marry the same person to five other people, go ahead and let them; it won't mean any more than a church proclaiming me to be bishop of Mars, but hey, whatever floats your boat. Meanwhile, the government will allow civil union benefits to any two adults. Problem solved.


At 11:24 PM, April 06, 2005, Anonymous Matt (an avid MN Politics reader) said...

From MN Publius:

The guys over at MinnPolitics have a good little article about the Texas Republicans shooting down a marriage protection amendment proposal similar to the one passed by the Minnesota house last week for "going too far." Apparently the Texas proposal was worded to ban any "legal equivalent" to marriage not just gay marriage and Texas Republicans deemed this as going to far. MinnPolitics notes that this was not too far for the MN house as the proposal passed included such wording.

So is Texas more tolerant or, as MinnPolitics puts it, less bigoted than Minnesota? Well, I'm not going to get into that. There might be, however, more "strategery," as our president would say, than MinnPolitics is picking up on. The proposal passed, after all, was just to open the issue up to a public referendum, let the people decide. This, from a political perspective, is almost unavoidable if the numbers are any indication, people want to have their voices heard. The Minnesota legislature is in the enviable position, however, to be able to set the agenda. By putting forth a strict bill the chances of it passing are much slimmer, but the public still gets its say.

Now I'd venture to guess that most MN Democrats did indeed see this strategy and that is why the proposal took the form that it did. Now it becomes their, and our, duty to inform the public what exactly the proposal entails. If the public knows the details, they'll shoot it down. The "total ban" is not popular nationally, people just have hang-ups about the word "marriage."

I do agree very much with MinnPolitics' final statement that marriage should go to the churches and unions to the state. That would clear up all the confusion surrounding the topic and I'd be the first in line for a heterosexual civil union.

At 12:56 AM, April 07, 2005, Anonymous Chris said...

You can watch the online footage of the floor session here.


Starting at 53:40, Rep. Simon engages in a line of questioning with Rep. Severson about what the legislative intent is behind "legal equivalent". It's about half an hour long, but you really need to watch it to get a sense of the arrogance behind the bills supporters.

Also, don't miss Rep. Kahn's line of questioning starting at 1:42:50.

At 10:38 AM, April 07, 2005, Blogger rew said...

Kind of ironic, since Lawerence and Gardner v Texas was the case that made this all possible.


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