By Cathy Kristofferson, May 14, 2013.
Yesterday the Minnesota Senate voted 37 to 30 to approve marriage equality. Their vote followed last Thursday’s 75 to 59 vote in favor in the Minnesota State House. Today Governor Mark Dayton will sign the bill into law at 5 p.m. CT with the bill going into effect on August 1st.
Before the morning Senate session began, the Mayor of the capitol city of St. Paul made the following pronouncement via Twitter: “I renamed the Wahasha Bridge 2 the Freedom to Marry Bridge for this week.” So yes, “Marriage equality here we come”
The bill was introduced and shepherded through the proceedings by Senator Scott Dibble, himself an openly gay man, married in California during that short pre-Prop 8 window in 2008.
Fighting back two amendments, the first the most sweeping religious exemption clause short of Scott Lively’s ‘First Amendment Supremacy Clause’ which gives religious bigotry preference in all matters, Senator Dibble exclaimed:
‘This is the USA. We don’t exclude people in the public square, from public services!”
The proposed amendment would have allowed not only businesses, employees, establishments, but also any private citizen the right to discriminate if their ‘deeply held’ religious beliefs kept them from accepting the marriage, and I say ‘marriage’ because the amendment didn’t even seem limited to same gender marriages!
I’m always amazed the lengths with which the opponents will go just to keep the gays out. Fortunately, the amendment was struck down 26-41.
The second amendment to retain ‘father/mother’ and husband/wife’ language on the marriage certificate if the marriage was between an opposite gender couple suffered the same fate.
One of the more powerful speeches was that of Senator Patricia Torres Ray who asked her colleagues permission to speak in Spanish for the first time ever on the Senate floor so she could explain to her own family members who wouldn’t understand her Yes vote. Her speech leading up to the Spanish portion portrayed a wonderful example of the ‘intersectionality’ of the fights for equality for the many minority groups in this country.
During the speeches, one Senator commented that “the whole amendment thing'” sure did backfire. It seems letting sleeping dogs lie might have been a more wise strategy for marriage equality opponents in 2012. Their campaign to add a ‘one man, one woman’ amendment to the Minnesota constitution really seems to have empowered the marriage equality crowd. Following the election less than 7 month ago they have not only campaigned to defeat the proposed amendment but have now secured marriage equality for all Minnesotans.
Governor Dayton will be signing the legislation into law today at 6:00 pm.
UPDATED May 14, 2013: Gov Dayton signs Bill into law See GAY U.S.A. the Movie