Minn. GOP supports moderate members on gay rights, won’t reverse party line on issue
The Republican Party of Minnesota released a statement on Thursday evening saying it stands by Republicans opposed to a constitutional amendment banning marriage for same-sex couples, but that it won’t change its platform against marriage rights for gay people.
“The Republican Party unconditionally supports the state party platform calling for a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” said party chairman Tony Sutton.
Sutton said the platform represents the views and values of the majority of Republicans.
“The party recognizes that not all Republicans might agree with all of the party platform at all times; debate is healthy, but at the end of the day the MNGOP stands behind and supports its activist and passage of the marriage amendment,” Sutton said.
Sutton also went after the DFL for not offering a constitutional amendment in support of same-sex marriage.
“Standing behind party activists is how the Republican Party differs from the Democrats. When Democrats held a legislative majority they could have passed a constitutional amendment changing current state law and the definition of marriage,” he said. “They chose not to even raise the issue in the legislature because they feared voter reaction. In other words, they abandoned a constituency they claimed to care about for political expediency.”
While the DFL did not offer a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, it did offer numerous bills to both legalize same-sex marriage or equalize Minnesota statutes to benefit same-sex couples.
Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, and Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, offered a bill in 2009 and 2010 called the Marriage and Family Protection Act, which would have legalized marriage for same-sex couples. The bill never passed out of committee because some DFLers worried about voting on the controversial bill in an election year with the threat of a veto from Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
In political ads during the 2010 gubernatorial campaign, the Minnesota Family Council and the National Organization for Marriage attacked the DFL for bringing up that bill and claimed it was the reason that an amendment banning same-sex marriage was needed. Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, the chief author of the anti-gay marriage amendment, told reporters in May that he authored the amendment because of Marty’s and Kahn’s bills.
The DFL also authored a series of bills between 2007 and 2010 aimed at equalizing the law for same-sex couples including hospital visitation, domestic partner benefits and end of life issues. Those were vetoed by Pawlenty.