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Delaware Legalizes Gay Marriage!
May 7, 2013 6:20 PM   Subscribe

When Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed a gay marriage bill into law just minutes after its passage by the state Senate earlier today, Delaware became the eleventh U.S. state to legalize gay marriage. Gay marriages will become legal July 1st of this year.
posted by orange swan (123 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Though universal gay marriage can't come soon enough, hearing that another country or U.S. state has legalized gay marriage gives me such a feeling of pure joy and elation that I shall almost be sorry when it becomes legal everywhere.;-)
posted by orange swan at 6:23 PM on May 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


It completely kills me that my state, California, is behind the curve on this.
posted by SPrintF at 6:23 PM on May 7, 2013 [11 favorites]


Wow, civil unions did not last long at all.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:33 PM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Or, as we call it, marriage.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:33 PM on May 7, 2013 [16 favorites]


The Minnesota house is voting on marriage equality this Thursday. Fingers crossed!
posted by padraigin at 6:34 PM on May 7, 2013 [11 favorites]


WOOOHOOO

=<3
posted by louche mustachio at 6:39 PM on May 7, 2013


Pennsylvania is starting to look pretty lonely here in the mid-atlantic states. I'm not holding my breath for our completely useless legislature and governor to go anywhere near doing the right thing anytime soon.
posted by octothorpe at 6:40 PM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Cue happy dance. Happiness is contagious!
posted by arcticseal at 6:41 PM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is WONDERFUL news.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 6:42 PM on May 7, 2013


I'm speculating that after about a decade from now, all the states that are going to legalize it on their own will have legalized it, and we will need to wait forever before, in several more decades, the Supreme Court finds that denying marriage to everyone is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause.
posted by MoonOrb at 6:44 PM on May 7, 2013 [8 favorites]


Been watching this closely for a while.... There was significant drama in the Senate, and it was more of a nail biter than it looks like. This is one of the first times I've been proud to live in Delaware....
posted by JMOZ at 6:45 PM on May 7, 2013


Del. State Senator Bethany Hall-Long's Facebook status just before the vote:

Over the past several months I have heard from countless Delawareans about HB 75, which allows all of our citizens to enjoy the benefits of civil marriage.

As a nurse and mother, I have dedicated my life to protecting the dignity, civility, and health of our community. When I first ran for office, I promised to listen to my constituents and make decisions that I believed were in the best interest of our state. I believe upholding and securing the rights of all of our citizens is a sacred trust that we hold as public servants. That is why I will be voting for HB 75.

My vote is guided by my belief in fundamental fairness for all Delawareans. As a Christian, I deeply respect our nation's strong tradition of religious freedom and feel strongly about the separation of church and state. HB 75 makes clear that no religious institution will be required to perform any marriage, same-sex or opposite-sex, if it doesn't conform to their beliefs. However, I also believe it is unfair for same-sex couples to be denied the same federal benefits as their married friends and neighbors. Only by providing same-sex couples the right to marry can they be guaranteed the same treatment under federal law.

posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:47 PM on May 7, 2013 [15 favorites]


And by significant drama, I mean persistent rumors that a Democratic senator's land-owning Baptist minister father was threatening to disinherit her of millions if she voted yes. She did vote yes, so either the rumor is untrue, or she REALLY stood on principle.
posted by JMOZ at 6:48 PM on May 7, 2013


I'm speculating that after about a decade from now, all the states that are going to legalize it on their own will have legalized it, and we will need to wait forever before, in several more decades, the Supreme Court finds that denying marriage to everyone is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause.

That seems unduly pessimistic. I think the snowball is gathering momentum faster than that and that you'll probably see a Supreme Court decision of that order within the next ten years.
posted by orange swan at 6:51 PM on May 7, 2013


70% of people born after 1980 support marriage equality. If the stubborn states don't start changing laws quickly, nobody is going to live in them for long.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:54 PM on May 7, 2013


At this rate, all 50 states will have marriage equality and DOMA will still be federal law.
posted by hippybear at 6:54 PM on May 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


That seems unduly pessimistic. I think the snowball is gathering momentum faster than that and that you'll probably see a Supreme Court decision of that order within the next ten years.

I sure hope you're right!
posted by MoonOrb at 7:00 PM on May 7, 2013


70% of people born after 1980 support marriage equality. If the stubborn states don't start changing laws quickly, nobody is going to live in them for long.

It would be interesting to see the distribution of this--I'm wondering if much of this 70% majority is concentrated largely in the blue states where marriage equality has already been attained or is likely to happen in the near future anyway?
posted by MoonOrb at 7:02 PM on May 7, 2013


I'm sorry to suggest this, but: marriage equality may become the new Abolition. There are some states, like Texas for example, that will fight marriage equality like Alabama fought integration. And given the floating "states rights" rhetoric so popular with the fringe right, I can imagine a US in which most states acknowledge marriage equality, while a few "rump" states (like Texas and Utah) stand proudly for bigotry.

I'm old enough to have seen this kind of stupidity before. I see it before me now. It took until, what?, 1978, for the Mormon church to acknowledge that African-Americans are people.

This issue will not be resolved in my lifetime. And not in yours, I bet.
posted by SPrintF at 7:08 PM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


MoonOrb, this is pure anecdote, but a huge proportion of my Facebook friends live in red states and a month or so ago when SCOTUS was hearing testimony on marriage equality and everyone was changing their profile photo to an equals sign, I saw a lot of equals signs that surprised me.

I don't think I saw a single dissenter (though I know of a few Facebook friends who privately do not believe same sex marriage should be legal) which is a little shocking because usually Facebook-level social issues like this are pretty sharply divided between the Red Staters and the Blue Staters in my feed.

I've even seen some of my older red state Republican people coming out publicly for marriage equality, which surprised me a lot.
posted by Sara C. at 7:09 PM on May 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


This issue will not be resolved in my lifetime. And not in yours, I bet.

Or it could be resolved in June with the next round of SCOTUS decisions.

it's hard to tell from this vantage point.
posted by hippybear at 7:09 PM on May 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Pennsylvania is starting to look pretty lonely here in the mid-atlantic states.

Well, a state senator and a state representative just introduced a bill banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression in the PeeYay legislature. But of course, the gesture is likely to be futile, given the GOP lock on both houses and the Governor

Meanwhile Republicans are again introducing a resolution calling for an amendment to the state constitution banning gay marriage, mostly symbolic because it's hard to change the constitution, and polls here show a lot of support for gay marriage. (the bill is HB 1349, but the state website doesn't have the text up yet, apparently)

The GOP has the state gerrymandered pretty badly, but the (Democratic majority) electorate here is getting a little fed up with GOP nonsense, so don't feel lonely, get out and change the state government next year.
posted by tommyD at 7:11 PM on May 7, 2013


Yeah, I don't want to jinx it, but I could see SSM becoming less and less controversial. The tide has turned, and there's nothing in it for those who oppose SSM. The Socially Conservative Powers That Be would be unwise to hitch their wagon to the anti-SSM movement, and they may well be self-aware about this. There will aways be people opposed to SSM, and probably some states will remain hostile to SSM, but on the whole, the gas might have already begun to leak from the anti-SSM movement.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:13 PM on May 7, 2013


This issue will not be resolved in my lifetime. And not in yours, I bet.

I absolutely refuse to accept this. I think that by the time my kids are adults, it will be as gauche to be homophobic as it is now to be racist, and people will be apologetic for their grandparents who still drop homophobic epithets, the way we still coddle our grandparents who have never stopped saying "colored" or "negros". And my great grandchildren will never bat an eyelash at same sex couples and it will be considered utterly beyond the pale to be homophobic, just like my kids cannot imagine why racism makes a damn lick of sense and if you told them there was a time that two people of different races could not get married they would not even understand all those words in the same sentence together.

The only thing I worry about is what will be the next big bugaboo that everyone hates on?
posted by padraigin at 7:15 PM on May 7, 2013 [11 favorites]


Minnesota has some chance of legalizing on Thursday. It will be a very, very close vote though, requiring one or two Republicans to vote yes. Sadly this is another state where rural areas have vastly disproportionate political power.
posted by miyabo at 7:18 PM on May 7, 2013


I think that by the time my kids are adults, it will be as gauche to be homophobic as it is now to be racist

Yes, I agree - that's the problem. Racism is anything but gone. Bigotry dies hard.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:19 PM on May 7, 2013 [10 favorites]


Delaware represent!
posted by inturnaround at 7:20 PM on May 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


miyabo, I don't think MN can happen on Thursday, since the Senate vote needs to be scheduled after the House vote.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:20 PM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, looks like MN is posed to become the 12th state this week or next. House is scheduled to vote Thursday and looks likely to have the votes, the recalcitrant rural DFLers are staring to fall in line, both the bill's main sponsor and House leader indicate they have the votes. It's cleared all the Senate committees and awaiting a vote scheduling, and the indication is the Senate has the votes as well. My guess is they are making sure it passes the House before officially putting it on the docket.
posted by edgeways at 7:20 PM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


yay!
posted by Jacqueline at 7:25 PM on May 7, 2013


Woot!
posted by Mental Wimp at 7:27 PM on May 7, 2013


Finally, Delaware gets a notable distinguishing characteristic!
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:31 PM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


The MN Senate could vote as soon as Saturday if the bill passes the House. The House vote looks close, but the leadership is confident and I've been hearing for months that the votes are in place, that some rural DFL (MN version of democrats) reps had already made it clear in closed-door caucus meetings they would risk their seats.
posted by Area Man at 7:31 PM on May 7, 2013


Over half of the national elected GOP doesn't even believe in protecting same-sex couples from domestic violence via VAWA, the RNC just voted unanimously--unanimously--for "traditional" marriage as their platform, ENDA still hasn't been submitted to Congress (at least this time it has a very few GOP cosponsors), if (and it's still an if) DOMA and Prop 8 are invalidated they will almost surely be done so as narrowly as the GOP majority can make it, and there are way too many states dominated by the GOP that will do their damnedest to either block GLBT rights or strip them away.

And that doesn't even get into the crazy (and likely illegal) nullification laws the GOP-dominated states are passing that invalidate any federal laws and decisions, or the fact that they will almost certainly gain seats in the 2014 midterms with a good chance they may retake the Senate and block most action on GLBT rights until 2016 at the earliest. As for racism, it's almost guaranteed that SCOTUS will turn over several areas of the Voting Rights Act and abolish affirmative action as if 400 years of prejudice never existed, so we're far from safe on that angle.

This is good news, but the fight isn't even close to being a tie, let alone a win, just yet.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:32 PM on May 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Do you, Wayne Campbell, take this man, Garth Algar, to be in Delaware?

I do.

And do you, Garth Algar, take this man, Wayne Campbell, to be in Delaware?

I do.

Then by the power vested in me by the State of Delaware, I hereby declare you to be in Delaware.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:34 PM on May 7, 2013 [7 favorites]


No sales tax on your gay wedding supplies!
posted by Area Man at 7:36 PM on May 7, 2013 [6 favorites]


AWESOME!
posted by limeonaire at 7:38 PM on May 7, 2013


anecdota: I live in Pennsylvania, and we have a local all-talk radio station, and there's a local guy who's on after the Rush Limbaugh show who's the station's token liberal, and his topic a couple of days ago was the fact the one of the local papers ran a wedding announcement about 2 local men who were getting married (in New York). And he was trying , so desperately, to get someone who was *outraged* about this to call in and and vent their spleen, get some good radio goin', and he was positively exhorting anyone listening who objected to call in and explain why.

He finally gave up after an hour and 15 minutes. He really was hoping for some nutjob to call in and pound on their bible to his delight (he's kind of a dick, even if he we happen to agree on most things). But no one called. Either because no one cared, or anyone who did care knew in their heart of hearts that they were a dinosaur and had accepted / resigned themselves to their irrelevance.
posted by the bricabrac man at 7:41 PM on May 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Racism is anything but gone. Bigotry dies hard.

It does indeed. I bet there are still more than a few Americans who oppose interracial marriage. But they're such a small minority that they're a non-issue in terms of being a threat to civil marriage rights at the legislative level. Gay marriage public approval has come such a long way in North America in the last twenty years and seems to accelerate over time that I can't see it taking much longer before we see it become universal in the U.S. Public approval is growing rapidly, younger people are overwhelming for it, and there will come a time when legislators simply can't afford to stand against that, even if they believe they should, and there will be fewer and fewer of those. You don't need 100% approval to get the job done.
posted by orange swan at 7:41 PM on May 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


It does indeed. I bet there are still more than a few Americans who oppose interracial marriage. But they're such a small minority that they're a non-issue in terms of being a threat to civil marriage rights at the legislative level.

You would think so, but as of this time in 2011, apparently 33% of likely Alabama GOP voters and 46% of likely Mississippi GOP voters thought that interracial marriage should be illegal or were "unsure" if it should be legal.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:05 PM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was FUCKING sure I wouldn't live to see the end of the Cold War. And here I am, a befelined spinster with a schoolgirl crush on Vladimir Putin. (He's dreamy." Now if you'll excuse mne,I'm going to ride this walrus across the North Altantic humming the theme to "до свидания лето."
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:08 PM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


And yet, interracial marriage is perfectly legal, even in Alabama and Mississippi.

Haters gonna hate.

More and more, it looks like we have this one tiny piece of the puzzle sewn up. Can't we just have that, for a minute?

If we can't enjoy the avalanche of changing minds, what can we enjoy?
posted by Sara C. at 8:10 PM on May 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


And yet, interracial marriage is perfectly legal, even in Alabama and Mississippi.

Only after Loving v. Virginia. And considering that the laws were still on the books until 2000, who knows how long it would have taken if it wasn't for that?

More and more, it looks like we have this one tiny piece of the puzzle sewn up. Can't we just have that, for a minute?

If we can't enjoy the avalanche of changing minds, what can we enjoy?


Enjoy it and fight for it, I don't think the two aren't mutually exclusive. There's virtually no chance of a Loving-type decision this year or next, or really any time in the near future barring Scalia/Thomas/Alito kicking it or retiring, so there has to be momentum.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:17 PM on May 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


But, OK. Worst case scenario on marriage, the states gradually adopt it, the population overwhelmingly supports it and sees same sex couples as a normal thing, and then in 5-10 years when the country is "ready", it's passed on the federal level.

Which, if that's the absolute worst thing that could happen with same sex marriage, that's still unbelievably better than anyone could possibly have guessed even just a couple years ago.

I remember hearing talk about the first push toward same sex marriage activism in about 2003, and saying something like, "Bahahahahaha like that would ever happen..." A decade later it's legal in 12 states. Which is, I believe, more states than had liberalized abortion laws prior to Roe v. Wade.
posted by Sara C. at 8:31 PM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Technically, it's legal in 11 states and the District of Columbia.
posted by hippybear at 8:53 PM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sorry I think I said 12 with the assumption that it is soon to be passed in MN. Wishful thinking and all.
posted by Sara C. at 8:56 PM on May 7, 2013


And by significant drama, I mean persistent rumors that a Democratic senator's land-owning Baptist minister father was threatening to disinherit her of millions if she voted yes. She did vote yes, so either the rumor is untrue, or she REALLY stood on principle.

It's also true that state senators are in a pretty good position to alter Delaware's inheritance laws.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:59 PM on May 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


A high school classmate of mine on Facebook posted something funny last night. She lives in Colorado, and a few days ago officiated the newly-legal civil union ceremony for two of her friends. Before she was even done with the ceremony, Rhode Island had made same-sex marriage legal. Before she was done putting up photographs on Facebook last night, Delaware had made it legal.

No one, including her and her friends, or me for that matter, expected things to be changing this quickly. It's amazing.
posted by olinerd at 12:17 AM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


It does indeed. I bet there are still more than a few Americans who oppose interracial marriage. But they're such a small minority that they're a non-issue in terms of being a threat to civil marriage rights at the legislative level.

Yeah, but they still manage to make life difficult for minorities at every opportunity. Establishing a right to marry doesn't make homophobia yesterday's news any more than Loving got rid of racism.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:46 AM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


More and more, it looks like we have this one tiny piece of the puzzle sewn up. Can't we just have that, for a minute?

I want to celebrate, really I do. Unfortunately I live in NC where the newly-empowered GOP are dragging us backwards through the mud and all I can see at this point is how the Blue States are progressing with each day that goes by while the poor old Red States are stagnating. Seriously, the situation is getting worse by the hour. We may all live in America but the people who live in Mississippi live in a very different America than the people who live in Massachusetts.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:14 AM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


It would be interesting to see the distribution of this--I'm wondering if much of this 70% majority is concentrated largely in the blue states where marriage equality has already been attained or is likely to happen in the near future anyway?

Here is the detailed polling data (PDF)

It only has Region splits: 58% of Northeast, 48% of Midwest, 39% of South, and 53% of West support marriage equality.
posted by smackfu at 6:10 AM on May 8, 2013


Welcome to the party, Delaware!

WOOHOO!
posted by rmd1023 at 6:30 AM on May 8, 2013


Seriously, the situation is getting worse by the hour. We may all live in America but the people who live in Mississippi live in a very different America than the people who live in Massachusetts.

Yes, but it has always ever been thus. People who live in Lawrence live in a very different America than the people who live in Weston.

I'm not saying that things aren't getting worse anywhere, but most of the time, "worse" is more "compared to how we think things should be" than "compared to how things were yesterday or last year."
posted by Etrigan at 6:40 AM on May 8, 2013


what will be the next big bugaboo that everyone hates on?

Women still do not have constitutionally protected equal rights in this country.

Maybe we could work on that?
posted by caryatid at 6:44 AM on May 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is awesome, but I'm still not forgiving Delaware for charging me $4 every time I drive across its tiny 11-mile stretch of I-95.

Just kidding. Stay awesome, Delaware.
posted by schmod at 6:52 AM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Establishing a right to marry doesn't make homophobia yesterday's news any more than Loving got rid of racism.

I don't think that anyone is under the illusion that changing the law would eliminate homophobia entirely; much as laws against theft do not completely erradicate theft. People still wanna steal things even though theft is illegal. But what the law does do, though, is let a couple marry despite the fact that their homophobic neighbor doesn't think they should. The homophobes are still out there, but they've got distinctly fewer teeth.

And as for whether it is right to celebrate yet:

Okay, this took place in New York, not Delaware, but. Nearly 15 years ago I met one of my favorite actors ever that I've worked with here in New York, a guy named David. At that time, he'd already been with his partner Barry for 15 years. Back in 1998, the most they could hope for was just live-in partner status.

But then I've had the privilege of seeing things change for them for the ensuing 15 years; when New York legalized civil unions, they did that, and that's about the time that David switched from calling Barry his "partner" and calling him his "husband." And I was thrilled to make that switch with him. That was about 6 or so years ago now.

And then, about two weeks ago, someone coordinated a "flash-mob wedding" for them (Barry also works in theater), after-hours on a stage (they asked the cast to stay behind as witnesses and invited a couple of spontaneous neighbors); someone filmed it and put it on Youtube so the rest of us could "attend" after the fact (I'd link it, but I don't know just how wide they want their wedding video spread).

So last weekend, I got to see the wedding of one of my favorite couples ever, after 15 years of thinking they'd never even be able to do that at all. So dammit, I'm gonna do a little celebrating, and I hope people in each of the states that do legalize equal marriage laws get to have the same joy - because hell, even WATCHING the wedding of a couple who never thought they could get married is a hell of a rush.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:54 AM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


We may all live in America but the people who live in Mississippi live in a very different America than the people who live in Massachusetts.

Yeah, that's the whole point of state governance. The flipside is that when a large majority of people were opposed to gay marriage, some states still legalized it.
posted by smackfu at 7:59 AM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Establishing a right to marry doesn't make homophobia yesterday's news any more than Loving got rid of racism.

Prima facie evidence of the statement.
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:44 AM on May 8, 2013


Only after Loving v. Virginia. And considering that the laws were still on the books until 2000, who knows how long it would have taken if it wasn't for that?

I'm not sure about that point. We still have some criminal laws on the books here in Canada that criminalize sodomy between young persons (or something like that) - laws that are unconstitutional where they've been challenged, would lose if it came up elsewhere, they're just on the books. Governments just don't get around to repealing unconstitutional laws very often, it doesn't mean they would have kept them around.

Minor quibble. Either way, yay for Delaware!
posted by Lemurrhea at 11:06 AM on May 8, 2013


FYI, Minnesota's Senate will vote on Monday.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:15 AM on May 8, 2013


what will be the next big bugaboo that everyone hates on?

women, tarns folks, atheists, Arabs, Muslims, peace activists, hipsters, ETfuckingC, people seem predisposed to divide and hate.
posted by edgeways at 12:04 PM on May 8, 2013


Fucking tarns folks, stealing our hard-earned tarnations.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:44 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Really. First tarns, then no doubt cirques, moraines, even--God help us--cwms.
posted by MoonOrb at 1:46 PM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


yeah that's my oh so nimble finger at work right there I tells ya. good grief.
posted by edgeways at 1:47 PM on May 8, 2013


We may all live in America but the people who live in Mississippi live in a very different America than the people who live in Massachusetts.

Sure. I grew up in a Red State (Louisiana), and I feel this intensely every time I visit home from the Blue State I live in.

So... what? Should nobody get same sex marriage until Mississippi is willing to legalize it? Are we all held hostage to a few thousand bigots?

Or is it just a liberal guilt thing? We can't celebrate one state making long-awaited positive change because there are a few thousand bigots somewhere else?
posted by Sara C. at 2:06 PM on May 8, 2013


We should totally celebrate--celebrating the awesome news and considering the continued existence of shittiness in other states shouldn't be mutually exclusive.
posted by MoonOrb at 2:19 PM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


celebrating the awesome news and considering the continued existence of shittiness in other states shouldn't be mutually exclusive.

True, but do they always have to be mentioned within the same sentence?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:23 PM on May 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah Delaware! My state senator, came out for the first time publicly during the debate in the senate, and I couldn't be happier for her victory.
posted by amelliferae at 5:54 PM on May 8, 2013


Sure. I grew up in a Red State (Louisiana), and I feel this intensely every time I visit home from the Blue State I live in.

So... what? Should nobody get same sex marriage until Mississippi is willing to legalize it? Are we all held hostage to a few thousand bigots?

Or is it just a liberal guilt thing? We can't celebrate one state making long-awaited positive change because there are a few thousand bigots somewhere else?


Nope. I'm not saying that at all, but rather just making an observation. I sometimes feel a bit blue that my red state will never legalize marijuana or allow SSM until forced to at a national level.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:40 AM on May 9, 2013


Minnesota Rep. Andrew Falk, a farmer from Murdock in Southwestern Minnesota was one of the DFL representatives who was thought to be on the fence. His district strongly supported the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Yesterday, he released the following letter to his constituents explaining why he will be voting to legalize gay marriage:

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Tomorrow the House of Representatives will be taking up a bill to legalize same sex marriage in Minnesota. I know this has been and continues to be an emotional issue for both sides of the debate. First and foremost, the bill (HF 1054), deals explicitly with civil marriage as defined in Minnesota Statute:

§517.01 MARRIAGE A CIVIL CONTRACT

Marriage, so far as its validity in law is concerned, is a civil contract between two persons, to which the consent of the parties, capable in law of contracting, is essential.


The bill does not force a religious institution to marry two individuals of the same sex. Furthermore, language has been added to the bill to offer additional comfort that no religious institution will be forced to act in violation of its own religious beliefs.

Throughout this legislative session, many constituents, on both sides of the issue, have provided faith based rationale(s) in support of their position(s). Who is right? Whose faith, interpretation, or religion is correct?

Our federal and state Constitutions protect and embrace religious autonomy and the freedom to exercise our own religious beliefs or lack thereof; all with equal protection under the law. We have a separation of church and state in this country for a reason.

As constituents have voiced their concerns about allowing same sex couples to marry, I have respectfully asked how this proposed change in the law would impact that individual’s life. In addition, I have asked what would be a legal, rational argument that would allow the continued discrimination of one group of citizens over another. While I do not question any individuals’ motivations or the sincerity of their views, the arguments I have received against same sex marriage thus far have been primarily biblical in nature or simply due to the fact that the person does not like people who are gay or lesbian. Neither of which are substantive arguments when deciding law in a secular institution that grants equal protection to all citizens under the law.

Frequently the issue of children is brought up as a reason to prohibit same sex marriage. The non-partisan American Academy of Pediatrics does not support this position. Their report, “Promoting the Well-Being of Children Whose Parents Are Gay or Lesbian,” compiled from more than 30 years of data, rather recommends that civil marriage for same-gender couples become legal for the benefit of children. They state, “The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supports civil marriage for same-gender couples – as well as full adoption and foster care rights for all parents, regardless of sexual orientation – as the best way to guarantee benefits and security for their children.”

Not a single person opposed to same sex marriage has stated how allowing two individuals of the same sex to marry will impact either his or her own marriage or life in a legitimate manner. Simply stating, “I don’t like it” is not a compelling argument to continue to allow the denial of happiness and equal rights to same sex couples.

The arguments have also been presented that being gay or lesbian is a lifestyle choice. It is not. Nobody chooses to be gay or lesbian; you either are or you aren’t. I never choose to be heterosexual. I just am.

GLBT rights are the civil rights issue of today. This is no different than the yesteryear movements to expand the rights of women, workers, and minorities. History has always looked favorably upon those who have stood on the side of expanded rights and freedoms.

Last summer, I married the person I love. I didn’t marry Marnie because she was a person I could live with; I married her because she was a person I couldn’t live without. We found each other and we knew we had something special.

How do I in good conscience not support that same right for all Minnesotans? A right that most of us take for granted. Marriage is about love. Marriage is about commitment. Marriage is about equality. Marriage is about finding the person that you cannot live without.

With that said, I will be voting to legalize same sex marriage in Minnesota.

Best regards,

Andrew Falk
posted by Area Man at 6:17 AM on May 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


Nice, good on Falk.


FWIW, if anyone is interested, the web-stream for the MN house is here. The debate/vote is expected to start around 12pm CST.
posted by edgeways at 8:27 AM on May 9, 2013


The legislature's livestream is a little weird to me. MPR's audio-only livestream is just starting here.
posted by Think_Long at 10:02 AM on May 9, 2013


And a more reliable video stream is here. Twitter.
posted by Think_Long at 10:03 AM on May 9, 2013


good god almighty how many times can MLK be quoted in a day
posted by edgeways at 11:05 AM on May 9, 2013


Rep. Tony Cornish (Rep.) wants us to know that he's not "a hater."
posted by Area Man at 11:14 AM on May 9, 2013


Yeah.. that was almost funny. It seems excessively cover my ass. "Yo please don't hate me just cuz I be against yer rights, plus hey my peeps told me to do this. Peace out."
posted by edgeways at 11:22 AM on May 9, 2013


Did Rep. Gruenhagen really say, "I've worked with all kind of criminals, so I don't hate gays"? I'm following this on twitter.
posted by Area Man at 11:31 AM on May 9, 2013


Yeah, he's not really a pretty talker, this Gruenhagen fellow.
posted by padraigin at 11:34 AM on May 9, 2013


yeaaaaah. kind of. Not sure if it was just reeeal bad phrasing, or if he meant it and thought it was kosher to say.
posted by edgeways at 11:35 AM on May 9, 2013


hey.. gay agenda!
posted by edgeways at 11:36 AM on May 9, 2013


Can anyone speak to the situation Gruenhagen raises about sex ed curriculum in Massachusetts including same-sex discussion, and about whether or not parents have the right to opt their kids out of that?
posted by padraigin at 11:39 AM on May 9, 2013


dunno, but he was kind of full of shit for most of his speech so I'd be surprised if that part was correct.
posted by edgeways at 11:42 AM on May 9, 2013


I found this factcheck on a similar claim that was made in Rhode Island.
posted by Area Man at 11:45 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thanks, Area Man. My daughter's Minneapolis kindergarten class had that book, too, heh.
posted by padraigin at 11:48 AM on May 9, 2013


The canyon story is a very strained metaphor.
posted by Think_Long at 11:49 AM on May 9, 2013


wah wah wah

Marriage bill bingo

http://images.scribblelive.com/2013/5/9/77d5901e-6bbe-4a84-bf01-3da971d7863e_500.jpg

think o the kidz
posted by edgeways at 11:50 AM on May 9, 2013


I was hoping that MLK quote would be on the bingo card.
posted by Think_Long at 11:56 AM on May 9, 2013


should have been
posted by edgeways at 12:00 PM on May 9, 2013


Rep. Faust with the best speech so far.
posted by edgeways at 12:20 PM on May 9, 2013


I admire Falk, Radinovich, and other rural DFLers from districts where this bill isn't popular. They are willing to end their political careers, and for the right reasons.
posted by Area Man at 12:38 PM on May 9, 2013


Daudt is a spineless ass. backpedaling on his previous actions without going anywhere.

Some of my best friends are gay
posted by edgeways at 12:53 PM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Looks like the debate is about to wrap up. Exciting.
posted by padraigin at 12:55 PM on May 9, 2013


yeah sounds like Clarke is next (and likely last)
posted by edgeways at 12:58 PM on May 9, 2013


One step closer, Senate votes Monday I believe. Aw yeah, we're (almost) number twelve!
posted by padraigin at 1:06 PM on May 9, 2013


yay 75-59, not as close as I expected.
posted by edgeways at 1:09 PM on May 9, 2013


There are only 73 DFLers in the House, so some of those 75 votes must have come from Repbulicans.
posted by Area Man at 1:09 PM on May 9, 2013


I know FitzSimmons did not sure who else
posted by edgeways at 1:10 PM on May 9, 2013


Man... I'm so used to being disappointed by the MN legislature, I'm not really sure how to process this.
posted by COBRA! at 1:11 PM on May 9, 2013


Loon, Kieffer, and Garofalo are republicans who also voted for the bill. Maybe there were others, they have a photo of the roll call board up on the MPR liveblog, but I don't know most of the names.
posted by Area Man at 1:15 PM on May 9, 2013


Whoa. That was quite a wide margin.

My understanding is that the Senate is a much surer thing than the House was. Right?
posted by miyabo at 1:20 PM on May 9, 2013


Yay Minnesota! Tip: don't go read the comments on the Star Tribune (I know you already know that).
posted by triggerfinger at 1:33 PM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Loon (R Eden Prairie) apparently voted for it.
posted by padraigin at 1:43 PM on May 9, 2013


miyabo, yeah as of now they are saying they have the votes in the Senate.

4 Rs voting for, 2 DFLers against. That line sup with the vote total.
posted by edgeways at 1:55 PM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Senate leadership has been consistently saying they have the votes. Commentators seem to think they are correct.

When the bill came to the full Senate after passing the Judiciary Committee, the Republicans tried to stall it by bringing a motion to postpone consideration of the committee report. That effort was defeated by a majority of the Senate. Certainly, there could be DFL senators who will vote against the bill but who went along with their leadership on a procedural vote, but it was a good sign and along with everything else suggests the bill will pass.
posted by Area Man at 2:10 PM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Shout out to the other Minnesotans posting here about the same-sex marriage bill. I'm so excited we're finally going to get it done. To think that less than a year ago we were worried the anti-marriage amendment would pass.

Ms Wimp and I deliberately held our noses and got married in Iowa back in 2009, because we didn't want to be married by a government that wouldn't let our friends marry. Maybe we should renew our vows in Minnesota when the law passes and is signed by Dayton.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:27 PM on May 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'd love to toast you if you do. Meetup?
posted by padraigin at 6:23 PM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


You're on. I'll let you know.
posted by Mental Wimp at 6:55 PM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Shit, if you go that route, let ME know and I'll toast you from my living room here in WA on the appropriate day.
posted by hippybear at 7:02 PM on May 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Capitol Rotunda in Minnesota erupted in cheers Thursday as Marriage Equality is passed in the House. This is what Freedom looks like.

(As noted above, it won't be final until next week when it gets voted on by the Senate, and signed by the Governor. Can't wait for that celebration !!!! )
posted by marsha56 at 3:16 AM on May 10, 2013


I thought this tidbit from Politics in Minnesota on what convinced Republican Rep. Jenifer Loon was interesting:

Loon, a three-term Republican from Eden Prairie, has been on the fence about the issue all session after her legislative district rejected the amendment last fall. She said she made her decision on the floor. But she added that one of her daughter’s best friends from high school recently told Loon she is gay. “She is like a daughter to me herself,” Loon said. “I had no idea.”

“There comes a time that you have to kind of just set politics aside and decide in your gut what is the right thing to do,” Loon said.

posted by Area Man at 6:28 AM on May 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


GOP Lawmaker Gives Teary-Eyed Lament After Gay Marriage Passes Minn. House
After a bill to pass same-sex marriage in Minnesota cleared an important hurdle on Thursday, a Republican lawmaker wept and said her "heart breaks" for the state.

Following the bill's passage in the Democratic-controlled state House of Represenatives, state Rep. Peggy Scott (R) grew emotional on the floor of the chamber.

“My heart breaks for Minnesota. It’s a divisive issue that divides our state," Scott said as she wiped tears from her face, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “It’s not what we needed to be doing at this time. We want to come together for the state of Minnesota, we don’t want to divide it.”
IMO: Well, Rep. Scott, stop trying to fucking keep people divided.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:14 AM on May 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


So many of the Republican politicians who spoke yesterday claimed that the bill shouldn't be passed because it was divise. These, however, were the same people who passed a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage just last session. They weren't worried then about it being an overly divisive topic for the state.
posted by Area Man at 7:29 AM on May 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, Rep. Scott, stop trying to fucking keep people divided.

I think I just broke my finger from favouriting that so hard.
posted by arcticseal at 7:42 AM on May 10, 2013


Yeah Peg... where where the tears last fucking year when your party set the whole thing in motion in trying to enshrine discrimination into the Constitution? How dry where your eyes?

I swear (frequently) the level of hypocrisy runs amok.

Minority leader Daudt's floor speech was a masterwork in political wankery. Not only did we get the "some of my best friends are gay", but he opined that people where just not listening to the other side and not being kind enough. There where only about 4 or 5 floor speeches that stood out to me on either side. Daudt's (R) for being so fucking spineless, FitzSimmons (R) just for so publicly bucking his party, Faust's (DFL) speech was one of the better, thoughtful pro bill speech, Simon (DFL) for his display of emotion. Most of the rest where fairly run of the mill with one or two exceptions I can't recall the names of. R lady with the confusing taking photos of the windshield analogy, the fellow from Bemidji was pretty entertaining.
posted by edgeways at 8:09 AM on May 10, 2013


“My heart breaks for Minnesota. It’s a divisive issue that divides our state," Scott said...

Only because you wanted it to.
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:12 AM on May 10, 2013


“My heart breaks for Minnesota my upcoming campaign for reelection. It’s a divisive issue that divides our state guarantees many Republican votes," Scott said as she wiped tears from her face, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:39 AM on May 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure Scott was the one who asked "Where our founding fathers bigots? I think not"
Welll Peg, they certainly didn't think women and African Americans should be allowed to vote, nor should whites and blacks marry, let along folks who are gay, and you certainly would not be a Representative under the Founding Fathers. Just because some old dudes had a few good ideas does not really make them paragons to emulate precisely for time immortal. so, uh, yeah.. they probably where actually bigots by today's standards. Heresy I know.
posted by edgeways at 10:41 AM on May 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Our Cruel, Divisive Intolerance of Bigotry
So if your negative views about homosexuality (no longer supported by science, public opinion or even recent tradition) are not enshrined in state law, you are being smeared as “bigots,” and it’s those who just want to be treated equally under the law who are “dividing” the people.

I understand an alarming number of Republican politicians are currently depending for their political support on encouraging older white traditionalist Catholics and conservative evangelicals—people who consider an older culture to be eternally normative, just like culturally threatened people in all times and in all places always have—to feel aggrieved and persecuted. But still, you have to wonder if they are really listening to themselves. The exact same arguments have been used in opposition to every significant move towards equality in American history. They make no more sense now than they did when advanced by those who were certain their country would be “lost” and God Almighty righteously offended when the slaves were freed, women obtained the vote, Jim Crow was torn down, and the oppressive forces of “political correctness” took all the fun out of casual bigotry. They’ll get over it, but tolerating their immense self-pity is quite a cross to bear.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:12 PM on May 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Minnesotans United tweeted that the state Senate convenes at noon on Monday to debate and then vote on the bill.
posted by Area Man at 2:29 AM on May 11, 2013


I have a big volunteer project at my kids' school this week and I tried to get out of working on any of it on site tomorrow so I can watch the livestream from home, but I'm afraid I might have to settle for sweating it out in the school boiler room, literally and figuratively, and listening on the radio. It's worth it.
posted by padraigin at 6:31 PM on May 12, 2013


fwiw, here is one place that will carry the livestream tomorrow.
posted by edgeways at 6:35 PM on May 12, 2013


I talked to Sandy Pappas, president of the MN senate, last night, and she says senate approval is a slam dunk. Woohoo!
posted by Mental Wimp at 7:15 PM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


And...done.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:56 PM on May 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


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