Same sex marriage (SSM) in Minnesota
Part 16: 2013-MAY: Governor signed bill into
law. Some Christians have fears and concerns.
"SSM" is an acronym for Same Sex Marriage.
"LGBT" is an acronym for Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transsexuals.
"DFL" is an acronym referring to the Democratic party in Minnesota.
2013-MAY-14: The final step:
A Fox News video of the signing ceremony (10 minutes):
Just before he signed the SSM bill on the Capitol steps, Governor Mark Dayton (D) said:
"It is now my honor to sign into law this next step for the state of Minnesota to fulfill its promise to every Minnesotan." 2
The State Patrol estimated that 6,000 people were present in the crowd. 3 Minnesota joined Iowa as the second Upper Plains state to legalize SSM. Iowa had achieved marriage equality earlier, but by a court decision not legislative action.
Later, during the evening, the city of St. Paul hosted an outdoor musical celebration to commemorate marriage equality in the state. 4
Marriage in Minnesota will be extended to all loving committed couples, both opposite-sex and same-sex at 00:00 hours on the morning of 2013-AUG-01. 5 Minneapolis' City Hall is scheduled to open just after midnight on that day so that same-sex couples will be able to obtain marriage licenses at the earliest possible time. However there is normally a five day waiting period before marriage is allowed, unless this is waived by a judge. 6
The first same-sex couples to be married in Minnesota will be Margaret Miles to Cathy ten Broeke and Jeff Isaacson to Al Giraud. Officiating will be Mayor R.T. Rybak at the Minneapolis City Hall. Over the next 6 hours, Mayor Rybak is scheduled to marry 38 additional same-sex couples.
This achievement of marriage equality for the state is somewhat ironic. Pro-equality forces organized themselves during 2012 to fight an attempt by social and religious conservatives to amend the Minnesota Constitution so that it banned same-sex marriages. If they had been successful, then implementing marriage equality would have been more difficult. The amendment would first have to be repealed before the marriage act could be amended to allow loving, committed same-sex couples to marry. The Constitutional amendment failed by a comfortable 5% margin. Since civil rights groups and the LGBT community were already organized to defeat the Constitutional amendment, they decided to go for broke and attempt to legalize SSM. If conservatives had not tried to implement the amendment in 2012, Minnesota probably would not have become the 12th state to bring marriage equality to its citizens.
In late 2013-JUN, the U.S. Supreme Court declared Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. This means that 1,138 federal marriage benefits will be available to both opposite-sex and same-sex married couples and their children on an equal basis.
Illinois was expected to be the next state to make marriage available to same-sex couples. The bill passed in the Senate but was not voted upon in the House because there were not quite enough pro-marriage legislators to pass the bill.
Concerns among conservative Christians about God's retaliation, a loss of religious liberty, & slippery slopes:
Many conservative Christians are concerned that God may send some natural disaster to the state of Minnesota in retaliation for the passage of the same-sex marriage bill. This fear is rarely discussed in the media, but it causes a great deal of distress among some Christians. There are many stories in the Hebrew Scripture (Old Testament) in which God engineered genocides. The flood of Noah is perhaps the most obvious example. In that genocide the entire human race: the elderly, adults, youths, children, infants, and newborns were exterminated by drowning, except for Noah, his wife, his to sons and their wives -- a total of six survivors. Since conservative Christians often have concluded from their interpretation of the six "clobber" passages in the Bible that God hates same-gender sexual behavior, and since they regard God as unchangeable, many of them conclude that a biblical-style mass loss of life due to a natural disaster is likely in Minnesota's future.
Jan Markell is the the president and founder of Olive Tree Ministries, a messianic Jewish radio ministry. He said:
"I'm fearful of God's judgment on our state. We are the occult capital, and next to Dearborn, MI, we are the Islamic capital. The state is very liberal, practically a socialist enclave."
"Not all of our politicians are radical, it's just that there are not enough [conservative legislators]."
A second concern of Markell and many other conservative Christians is the impact of same-sex marriage in those states that have passed anti-discrimination legislation. They typically require that:
- An individual like a wedding photographer, or
- A company that rents out a hall suitable for wedding receptions, or
- Any other person or company that supplies any type of goods or services to the general population,
cannot discriminate on the basis of race, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc. There have perhaps a few dozen businesses owners across the U.S. who have violated the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31, Thomas 6) as well as the Golden Rule. They rejected as customers loving, committed same-sex couples because of the owner's religious beliefs towards same-sex marriage. In a handful of cases, the couple have lodged a complaint with their state's human rights tribunal. Ironically, many businesses found guilty of human rights violations benefit financially, as many new customers who want to discriminate against gays and lesbians preferentially seek them out. The profit from increased business often exceeds the fines they had to pay.
Such incidents are being described in conservative Christian media outlets as an attack on individual religious liberty and freedom. They are not referring to the traditional meaning of these terms, which cover topics like freedom of religious belief, religious assembly, worship, proselytizing, etc. They are referring to the new, emerging meaning of religious liberty and religious freedom in which believers use their religious faith to justify discriminating against, oppressing, denigrating, etc. women or minorities.
Senator Torrey Westrom (R) is concerned that the bill could lead to unintended consequences. He said:
"The question that can't be answered is if marriage is about marrying who you love, where does that stop?. Our statute has several other restrictions on who can get married, but if the premise is that you should be able to marry who you love, that is a slippery slope."
Other conservatives have expressed similar worries: that a person will want to marry their dog, whom they love. Or a man might want to marry his sister or other person to whom he is genetically close. There is even a rumor of a woman who wanted to marry the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Fortunately, this is impossible in Minnesota and in every other state because, to our knowledge, all marriage acts specify clearly that both parties be human beings, who consent to the marriage, are of sufficient age, and not too closely related genetically.
However, there is a movement in the U.S. and Canada promoting a return to cultural values in the Old Testament where group marriages were allowed. In Genesis 4:19, Lamech became the first known polygamist when he took two wives. Subsequent men who took multiple wives included: Esau with 3 wives; Jacob: 2; Ashur: 2; Gideon: many; Elkanah: 2; David: many; Rehaboam: 3; Abijah: 14. Jehoram, Joash, Ahab, Jeholachin and Belshazzar also had multiple wives. The record holder in the Bible was Solomon who is recorded as having 700 wives of royal birth. The Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) contain no negative comments on such marriages except for Solomon's marriages which were criticized because he married many non-Hebrew wives who followed Pagan religions. Most predominately Muslim countries allow a man to marry up to four wives, if he can offer all a reasonable standard of living to all and treat them equally.
The first country to legalize same-sex marriage were the Netherlands in the year 2001. The first state in the U.S. was Massachusetts in 2004. The first country in the Western Hemisphere was Canada in 2005. No country or state has expanded the criteria for marriage beyond two persons. Both must be human, of suitable age, and not too closely related genetically. We strongly doubt that any of these restrictions will change in the future.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Melissa Barnhart, "Minn. Gov. Signs Gay Marriage Bill; Some Brace for God's Wrath," Christian Post, 2013-MAY-17, at: http://www.christianpost.com/
- "Minnesota governor signs same-sex marriage bill," Associated Press, 2013-MAY-14, at: http://www.cbsnews.com/
- "National Organization for Marriage Condemns Minnesota Legislature for Redefining Marriage," National Organization for Marriage, 2013-MAY-13, at: http://www.nomblog.com/
- James Nord, "Joyful same-sex marriage supporters rally after Minnesota Senate approval." MinnPost, 2013-MAY-13, at: http://www.minnpost.com/
- Dawn Stevens, "MARRIAGE EQUALITY: Minnesota Senate to vote on Freedom to Marry Act," My Fox Twin Cities, 2013-MAY-13, at: http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/
- Doug Grow, "Same-sex marriage: Celebration, anticipation fill Capitol in hours before Senate vote," MinnPost, 2013-MAY-13, at: http://www.minnpost.com/
- David Bailey, "Minnesota Senate approves bill legalizing gay marriage," Reuters, 2013-MAY-13, at: http://news.yahoo.com/
- Patrick Condon, "Gay Marriage In Minnesota And Rhode Island Legalized, Weddings Start At Midnight," Associated Press
, 2013-AUG-01. at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
- Patrick Condon, "Gay couples rush to wed as Minnesota, Rhode Island legalize same-sex marriage," Associated Press, 2013-AUG-01 at: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/
Copyright © 2013, by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
First posted: 2013-MAY-13
Latest update: 2013-AUG-01
Author: B.A. Robinson