As the anticipation of a same-sex marriage bill being introduced this year in Minnesota builds, both sides are beginning to take posture on the issue. The GOP leadership, though some not necessarily supporting the measure personally, has “ruled out reprisals” against GOP members who support the measure in their caucuses if they choose.
What does that mean, specifically stating that you are ruling out reprisals? Does this suggest that reprisals have been a way of the past? An observant spectator would probably say you would be correct. Though the issue may not have been articulated clearly in the open, conversations had with voting representatives, and their last minute voting flip during the constitutional amendment battle, would seem to support much backroom influence had taken place. Whether this was direct from the state party leadership, house or senate leadership, special interest (i.e. MFC, NOM, M4M), or some well funded super PAC of a ultra social conservative, the ultimate result was a devastating miscalculated gamble by many in the GOP.
2013 conventions are now underway and Congressional and Senate District leadership appears to be all over the board on the issue.
In spite thereof, you are beginning to see more and more support emerge among the GOP ranks, such as MN GOP Deputy Chairman candidate Corey Sax.
The following is a post from prominent GOP activist Pat Anderson and her take on the issue.
Pat Anderson: A GOP activist in support of same-sex marriage in Minnesota
We’re not losing elections because our principles are weak, and we’re not losing young voters because our message isn’t relevant to them; indeed, conservative principles of limited government, individual liberty and personal responsibility are more important now than ever. We’re struggling as a party because we continue to dangerously alienate significant groups of Minnesotans — including same-sex couples and the people who know and love them.
I applaud Republican State Sen. Branden Petersen for expressing his support of legislation that would extend the basic freedom to marry to same-sex couples in Minnesota, and I urge other Republican legislators and Minnesotans to join him.
I have been involved at nearly every level of Republican politics for more than two decades. I deeply believe in our party’s core principles, and I want to see the Republican Party succeed. It is for that reason that I feel compelled to speak out and urge other Minnesota Republicans to follow Sen. Petersen’s leadership.
The activists who make up our party are divided on this issue. While our antiquated party platform states very clearly that the Republican Party opposes gay marriage, many Republican activists feel otherwise. The so-called “Liberty” delegates especially, who are on the rise within our party, either support gay marriage or believe government has no role in dictating the issue. In either case, our platform seriously misrepresents many Republicans’ true views on marriage.
Last year, Republicans put a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would have permanently deemed gay and lesbian couples as unworthy of marriage. Many of the Republican legislators who voted to add that amendment did so against their better judgment and personal feelings on the issue, and our party paid for it at the polls in November. Along with my husband and four voting-aged children, I proudly voted “no” on that amendment.
If we are truly the party of freedom and limited government, what justification is there to use the power of government to restrict people’s lives?
Overwhelmingly, younger generations support marriage for same-sex couples, and I agree with Sen. Petersen that it is inevitable. As a mother of generally Republican-leaning children in high school and college, it was difficult to explain to them why our party took the position it did. The philosophical double standard was troublesome, to say the least.
I believe it is time for Minnesota state law to finally reflect the fact that marriage is about the love, commitment and responsibility that two people share. Marriage is good for children, and it strengthens families and communities. If we truly believe these things, I cannot think of any valid reason for our state to continue to exclude same-sex couples from having the opportunity to marry and pursue happiness like anyone else.
Furthermore, I believe that it is time for the Republican Party to seriously address this issue. Public polls continue to show increasing movement in Minnesota and across the country towards understanding that the basic freedom to marry the person you love should no longer exclude gay and lesbian citizens. In fact, recent polls show that only 23 percent of Minnesotans still believe same-sex couples should have no legal recognition. Our Republican Party needs to recognize that as generations age, the world changes, and that supporting government intrusion into Minnesotans’ personal lives is antithetical to being the Party of limited government and individual liberty.
The fact is that tens of thousands of same-sex couples live in Minnesota — they may be your neighbors, family members, or fellow churchgoers. Same-sex couples are raising children — successful, healthy and happy children — in communities all across our state. Gay and lesbian Minnesotans pay taxes, vote, and serve in the military on behalf of their fellow citizens. They take care of each other, their families and their children — and ultimately, aside from whom they fell in love with, they are no different than anyone else.
There is no substitute for marriage in society. I cannot imagine being told that it was illegal to marry my husband. Same-sex couples who have made lifelong commitments of love and fidelity to each other deserve the recognition, responsibilities and protections inherent to marriage, and the children of same-sex couples deserve to grow up in stable homes with married parents. It is not the role of government to discriminate based on gender or sexual orientation.
In the end, Minnesota will be a stronger, better place when we acknowledge that even though our families don’t all look the same, we all matter. All Minnesotans deserve the freedom to marry the person they love, and I urge the Republican Party to recognize that.
After all, protecting freedom and liberty — and removing unnecessary government intrusion from our lives — is, at its core, the conservative thing to do.
Pat Anderson served as Minnesota State Auditor from 2003-07 and as the Republican National Committeewoman from 2011-12. She has also run as a Republican candidate for governor and currently serves as the chair of the Fourth Congressional District Republicans.