Some Minnesota political party leaders are turning up pressure on legislators to legalize same-sex marriage in the state this year.
“This is about what kind of state we want for the future,” Ken Martin, chair of Minnesota’s DFL Party, said Wednesday. “What kind of statement do we want to make when a whole swath of society is treated like second-class citizens? We know the freedom to marry is a critical step to a better Minnesota.”
Legislators appear to be weeks away from a vote on a measure to legalize same-sex marriage, which would make the state the 10th to authorize such unions. It is not clear that its supporters have the necessary votes in the Legislature, so several party leaders were applying an extra bit of pressure as legislators wrestle with the issue.
Along with Martin, the event drew leaders of the Independence, Libertarian and Green parties, all of whom expressed strong support for same-sex marriage and rejected a compromise proposal to allow civil unions for same-sex couples.
The new leader of Minnesota’s Republican Party, former legislator Keith Downey, did not attend.
The issue is largely shaping up as a partisan one at the State Capitol, where DFLers control both legislative chambers and the governor’s office. Most Democrats support same-sex marriage, and many Republicans say they will vote against it. In a vote expected to be excruciatingly close, the fight now is for those final few legislators who haven’t made up their minds.
Martin called the effort “the issue of our time,” adding, “We need to stand up and fight for that.”
Baird Helgeson • 651-925-5044