Let’s take a run back to 2008 The DFL controlled the legislature and everything else but the govenorship.
ME: “So, DFL – if you’re so hot for gay marriage, why don’t you pass a gay marriage bill?”
DFLers: “Because the Governor will veto it?
ME: “So? Principle is principle! If your voter base is so hot for gay marriage, why not put your stake in the sand, and make the GOP plant theirs?”
DFL: “It’d be a waste of time”.
Fast forward to 2010:
ME: “So, DFLers – see how the GOP pushes bills they believe in – everything from budget reforms to “Stand Your Ground” – so that the electorate knows who’s on what side of what issue, even though Governor Dayton is going to veto it?”
DFLers: “Clearly you are a racist”.
Fast even further forward to Wednesday, when I pointed out to Minnesota Progressive Project ‘s Jeff Rosenberg that there was no chance on earth that the DFL was going to push gay marriage. Partly because it’s worth more to them as a wedge. Partly because they’ll take less electoral flak letting the courts do it.
Today? I don’t wanna say “I told you so”.
For those of us who want to see DFLers move decisively to approve equal marriage, there was disappointing news at a press conference held on Wednesday:
“Many Democrats, led by Gov. Mark Dayton, opposed the amendment. But on Wednesday they would not commit to overturning the law.
Senate DFL leader Tom Bakk of Cook said the state’s budget situation is so serious that he thinks any such policy decisions should be delayed. House DFL leader Paul Thissen of Minneapolis would not go that far, but agreed budget work must come first.
In a radio interview, even the most outspoken same-sex marriage opponent, openly gay Sen. Scott Dibble of Minneapolis, said he did not know if it was time to move forward with changing the law.”
Sorry, but saying that the budget must come first is a cop-out. The legislature can — and does — consider dozens of issues at one time. There will be over 110 DFLers in the legislature. Surely two or three of them can take some time to write the bill without taking away from work on the budget. Ater all, a bill to legalize same-sex marriage would probably only need to be a page or two long. It could be written, debated, and signed before the February economic forecast is available.
It could be six words long – “Son, you may kiss the groom” – and the DFL still won’t touch it.
Because gay marriage is worth a lot more to the DFL as a wedge issue than as a bunch of married gays.
The DFL – or, more realistically, the “Alliance for a Better Minnesota”, which does all the DFL’s thinking for it these days – needs to have lots of wedges to wave in front of the low-information, emotionally-manipulable audience that is its main source of voters. And they’re going to need to conserve the ones they have, as the reality – “we just elected a high-tax, high-regulation bunch of government-worker-union stooges in the middle of a crap economy” – sinks in with Minnesotans.
Hey, Minnesotans! Stop the hate!