This War Needs Two Fronts
No question, the bigots in the legislature have temporarily succeeded in screwing us over, doing what they've been trying to do since 2004 with their first introduction of an anti-gay marriage amendment. In previous years, their bills have all contained wording that would exclude legal recognition of any same-sex relationship, however, this year's bill has omitted that exclusionary language with the Republican authors in the Senate and House expressly admitting that the amendment allows for same-sex civil unions. That's a big change from previous years and it's a change that occurred, in part, because Marriage Equality Minnesota has had a constant presence at the Capitol, and initiated the first marriage equality bill in the Minnesota's history to be introduced in both houses of the legislature. We repeated the introduction of that bill in 2009 and now our bill, the Marriage and Family Protection Act, has been re-introduced in 2011, for a third biennium in a row. The pushing forward of that bill, plus the filing of the lawsuit last year by Marry Me Minnesota against the State for same-sex marriage rights, created an expectation of impending equality that made it impossible for the bigots in the legislature to offer up the same exclusionary amendment they have repeatedly introduced and have any chance of passage. They were forced to put a hole in the amendment, accommodating civil unions, because we pushed forward with REAL action, not just talk, for marriage equality in the legislature and in the courts, action that has moved public opinion in our direction, as born out by recent polls.
Do we need to organize against the amendment? YES! But let's take some of the new-found energy this anti-gay marriage amendment has created and use it to push forward for equality. We must do both!
Marriage Equality Minnesota's marriage equality bill is in play, in both houses of the legislature, through the end of the 2012 session and Marry Me Minnesota has a marriage equality lawsuit making its way through the Minnesota courts. We still have hope! Nobody knows what the future will bring no matter how much they profess to be able to predict elections. Who correctly predicted the outcome of the 2010 election in Minnesota? Nobody! Many of our so-called experts were telling us pro-equality officials would have complete control of state government after the 2010 election. They were wrong. Marriage Equality Minnesota discounted those predictions and said we need to push marriage equality as far as we can get, RIGHT NOW, because we don't know what will happen in the next election. That position was right, and it still holds true. We have to push forward for marriage equality, RIGHT NOW, like there's no tomorrow because pushing forward is the only thing that brings progress!
The truth is, with enough action we CAN get a marriage equality bill through the legislature and signed by the governor; we CAN defeat the anti-gay marriage amendment; we CAN have success in the Minnesota courts, overturning the statutory ban on same-sex marriage. And, let's not forget that there are marriage equality cases making their way through the federal courts, as well, that could ultimately overturn all state-level same-sex marriage bans, including the anti-gay marriage amendment the bigots are currently trying to pass in Minnesota. We have hope!
So, while you're talking to friends and neighbors about opposing the anti-gay marriage amendment, please mention the marriage equality bill that is currently in the legislature that will bring full marriage equality to same-sex couples in Minnesota, the Marriage and Family Protection Act, SF 1427 and HF 1710, as well. Encourage them to frequently call their legislators demanding support for its passage. And, support the marriage equality lawsuit, currently on appeal.
We've just begun to fight! - Doug