During the 2010 election, Target donated money to a Tom Emmer (R) PAC, which was exposed by Minnesota’s transparency laws. There was a backlash, particularly from their gay employees – who Target has otherwise been good to. It was a miscalculation by someone seeking to support a fiscal conservative. The problem is that fiscal conservatism comes bundled with social conservatism. Target is now selling T-shirts in support of gays and gay marriage. Emmer was among the first to be glitter bombed.
Last year, I watched some amazing testimony and debate against the amendment. (MN Senate Media Services and the House equivalent make video recordings of the House and Senate in action, and the local PBS station broadcasts it on a digital subchannel. Our own local CSPAN.) The testimony for the amendment was the usual religious persecution, fake science, reproduction, and redefinition arguments.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the inquisition…
There was a flurry of gay teen suicides, and gay-bashing in schools became a hot issue. There was one particularly high-profile case of a school board refusing to protect their students in the name of religious liberty. They were eventually forced to back down.
The polls now show that most Minnesotans support gay marriage, which is why republicans want to handcuff future legislatures by carving the ban in the state constitution. They may be too late.
The amendment has to get a “YES” from the majority of MN voters. A non-answer counts as a “NO”.
Religious leaders are organizing against the amendment, in addition to groups supportive of gay rights – and now businesses. Minnesota is home to a large number of Fortune 500 companies, and they are realizing that this battle is coming to their own back yard.
Senator Ron Latz (DFL-St. Louis Park/ Golden Valley) says “be afraid of the tyranny of the majority” not because the majority doesn’t rule, but because the constitution is there to protect the rights of the minority, even if we disagree with them. Latz says a proposed constitutional amendment that would enshrine religious views in our state constitution is a “political tactic”. Religious freedom, Latz says is for everyone, not just the majority.
Representative Steve Simon (DFL Hopkins/St. Louis Park) says a proposed Minnesota constitutional amendment is largely about religion. He says if sexual orientation is innate as science is showing us, and not a lifestyle choice, then God created gay people. He asks how many gay people must God create before we accept that he wants them around.
Senator Scott Dibble, who is gay, talks about how hurtful a proposed Minnesota constitutional amendment is to him and his husband.
Senator Barb Goodwin (DFL-Fridley) says Republicans are spending too much time worrying about how other people live instead of focusing on the budget. She says putting discrimination into the Minnesota constitution is “craziness”
Rachel Maddow On Minnesota’s Anti-Gay Marriage Constitutional Amendment