One of my favorite reactions to the Minnesota Senate’s 37-30 vote to approve same-sex marriage (SSM) came from Dennis from Minneapolis, whose partner, Daniel, asked for his hand in legal marriage (they already had a religious ceremony) on Facebook. Dennis answered this way:
And then one of their friends offered to make hotdish and bars for the wedding, which was also awesome if you know anything about Minnesota culture. But Dennis’s reaction is how I, along with many others, reacted to the vote, which followed 75-59 passage in the state House and will be signed into law today by Gov. Mark Dayton (D-MN). That will make Minnesota the twelfth state in the U.S. to recognize SSM – on the heels of Delaware, which became the eleventh last week – and the first in the Midwest to do so in the legislature, not the judiciary.
The vote wasn’t without its problems, though. Senate Republicans offered a “religious freedom” amendment that fell, but is still a sobering reminder of how many opinions have yet to “evolve”:
. . . the Republican amendment would have extended protections to individuals with religious objections to doing business with gay couples.
I have no patience for anyone who thinks they should be able to run a secular entity with religious rules. Let’s play a game, shall we? You own a business. Someone wants to buy something. Your priority should be: a) whether or not they can pay for it, or b) whether or not their (consensual, adult) sexual activity makes you feel icky.
Contrast that amendment with one from State Rep. David FitzSimmons (D-Albertville), which inserted the word “civil” before “marriage” wherever it appears in Minnesota statutes, ensuring that religious entities could still be run with religious rules. The bill offers legal recognition of SSM, which is what matters. Yet State Sen. Carla Nelson (R-D26) complained that the new law “denies the right of a different opinion” and failed to “respect religious freedom” adequately. If it denied the right of a different opinion, how did she vote against it?
FitzSimmons has successfully boxed SSM opponents into a corner in which their demands for freedom of religion and opinion have, in fact, been satisfied. By that point, they’re really arguing for the freedom to discriminate. Short of removing the government from the marriage process entirely – which may not be the best idea if you want “consensual” and “adult” to remain criteria – this is the way to make sure SSM moves forward in the U.S. There may be a lot of evolving left to do, but I dare say most of Americans share that red line.
Finally, this is fake. Yeah, I was disappointed, too. Maybe next year.