As I’ve pointed out in the past, I’m deeply ambivalent about pretty much everything in the Gay Marriage mix; gay marriage itself, sure, but straight marriage too, and amending the constitution to protect it as well.
Yesterday, if you were at the Capitol, you saw a Madison-like outpouring of support for gay rights and opposition to the Amendment. And by “Madison-like”, I mean “largely Metrocratic”.
But while I’m ambivalent about gay marriage (I support civil unions, but don’t plan on ever getting a government marriage license, even if I do get married ever again), I think there is one uncontrovertible fact; the DFL’s motivations in opposing the Amendment were purely, and just a tad cynically, political.
Call From Pauline Kael: The left’s approach on gay marriage, thus far, has been to get it instituted by fiat, either by politicians (former San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsome) or the courts. It’s a fact that gay marriage has never passed a public referendum, not even in “progressive” cesspools like Oregan.
But there are polls that indicate that people are changing their tune; that people actually support gay marriage.
So is the landscape changing? It depends on the polls you believe, of course; I’ve seen surveys of likely voters that indicate most Minnesotans oppose it; there are others, of course. We’ll see – in November, 2012. I strongly suspect most people do, in fact, oppose gay marriage because…
What Happened In 2009? Last night, during the Madison-like surge of lefty outrage on Twitter, a “progressive” sniffed at me:
Sir- the agenda is Rights. DFL Benson: My conscious comes first, my constituents second, and my desire to be reelected, third.
Which makes a good chanting point. But it doesn’t stand up to history.
Four years ago,the DFL took control of the government in Saint Paul. Two years ago, the DFL had absolute control of Minnesota government, except for Governor Pawlenty. Had they wanted to push a gay marriage law, they could have. It would have been vetoed – but they’d have made their moral case to take to the voters.
And don’t forget that they could have passed a constitutional amendment, as the GOP just did, and bypassed the Governor completely.
And yet they dawdled for four years, and made no significant effort toward Gay Marriage. None. Zero.
If the DFL’s stance were “about civil rights”, about immutable libertarian principles, as Rep. Benson grandiloquently claimed, they’d have used their absolute majority to do something,
Contrast that to the GOP, which introduced the Constitutional Amendment immediately.
Leaving aside whether it’s good to vote on civil rights or whether Gay Marriage is a civil right, here’s a question: which is the stance of a party that believes that they are going to win a referendum?
I suspect the DFL ignored gay marriage (and their gay supporters) for four years because they knew the votes weren’t there throughout Minnesota; that if they voted for legislation pushing gay marriage, they’d get shredded statewide. They’d be kissing any outstate seats goodbye; they’d shave some of their majority in the Arrowhead and in the Twin Cities; few people oppose Gay Marriage less than Afro-Americans and Latinos; they might even jeopardize Tim Walz’ seat.
My thesis – this was never about principles, about liberty, about fairness for gays. This is about votes. The DFL believes they’ll lose them – lots of them.