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Religious Tolerance logo

Same sex marriage (SSM), civil unions, etc In Minnesota

Part 7: Support for the referendum.
Result of the referendum. Aftermath.

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This topic is a continuation from the previous essay

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2011 & 2012: Support for the amendment.

There was phenomenal support for the amendment to write discrimination into the Minnesota Constitution by restricting marriage to a union of one man and one woman. For example:

  • Minnesota For Marriage -- a group that fought against same-sex marriage (SSM) -- ran a series of "Minnesota Marriage Minute" ads. The first was:


  • The Minnesota Catholic Conference -- a group composed of all of the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church in the state -- stated on their web site:
    "This is our time to stand up and defend marriage as a unique institution that, from the beginning of human history and in every culture, is the union of one man and one woman for the propagation of the human family and the upbringing of children." 5
    Dozens of similar statements have appeared in the media and on the Internet, placed there by various Roman Catholic and conservative Protestant leaders. Yet the Hebrew Scriptures (a.k.a. Old Testament) describes how a man could marry (literally "become the master of the woman") women as often as he desired. 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; Solomon: 700 wives of royal birth; Rehaboam: 3; Abijah: 14. Jehoram, Joash, Ahab, Jeholachin and Belshazzar also had multiple wives.

    Subsequently, the Catholic Conference stated:

    "Marriage’s essential public purpose is to help protect a child’s fundamental right to be known and cared for by his or her mom and dad, to whatever extent possible.

    In the public square, marriage is a reality that binds a man and a woman to any children born from their union. Not all marriages have children, but all children have a mom and a dad. And while there are many types of valuable, loving relationships, marriage is more.

    All citizens, including Catholics, should care about the government’s treatment and definition of marriage because civil authorities are charged with promoting the well-being of children and the broader common good, and marriage is indispensable for both purposes." 6

  • State Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R) said:

    "The amendment simply preserves and protects Minnesota’s traditional definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. If the voters adopt it, absolutely nothing will change in the way that marriages are conducted or recognized in our state.

    Without the marriage amendment in our constitution, activist judges can substitute their values for those of the people of Minnesota. In fact, a lawsuit to legalize same-sex marriage was heard recently in the Minnesota Court of Appeals. This is exactly what happened in Iowa, Massachusetts and California. Similarly, legislators can redefine marriage without the permission of the people, as several legislators have pledged to do." 7

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2012-NOV-06: Election day: The public voted on the constitutional amendment:

Amendment 1's question asked:

"Limiting the status of marriage to opposite sex couples. Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?"

If the referendum had passed, then neither the Minnesota legislature nor the state courts would have been able to implement same-sex marriage (SSM) in the state. The amendment would have had to be first repealed before either institution could act to achieve marriage equality.

However, the amendment failed!

  • On 2012-NOV-07, with 99% of the votes counted, the amendment was failing: 48% in favor, 51% against, for a margin of 3 percentage points. 1

  • On NOV-07, with 99.9% of the precincts reporting, 47.7% voted in favor, while 52.3% had voted against the amendment.

  • On NOV-09, with all precincts reporting, 47.46% had voted in favor, while 52.54% had voted against the amendment. The margin was 5 percentage points. 3

Referendums on the same day in three other states -- Maine, Maryland, and Washington State were held to legalize SSM. Voters in all three states passed their referendums and loving committed same-sex couples can now marry. The three referendums also passed with a margin of about 5 percentage points.

Thus, it is now at least theoretically possible in Minnesota for either:

  • The legislature to initiate and pass a bill to legalize SSM and have the governor sign it into law, or

  • Some loving, committed same-sex couples to apply for marriage licenses, be refused, sue the state under the Minnesota constitution, and have the court legalize SSM, or

  • Arrange to have a plebiscite, perhaps on Election Day in 2014-NOV, to legalize SSM.

Final certification of the vote was made by the Minnesota Secretary of State near the end of November.

Before election day in 2012, there had been about 30 dozen similar attempts in other states to write discrimination against lesbians, gays and bisexuals (LGBs) into their state's constitution. All of them had succeeded -- some by very large margins. However, this amendment failed! Minnesota has become the very first state to reject a constitutional amendment intended to ban same-sex marriage.

SSM remains banned by the state marriage law. However the Legislature could change this at any time. With a Democratic governor, a Democrat-controlled legislature, and a policy in the platform of the national Democratic party in favor of same-sex marriage, the stage is set for the legalization of SSM in 2013, but only if the politicians care about marriage equality and are willing to take on a controversial topic. 4

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2013-FEB-14: Minnesotans United for All Families holds rally:

Minnesotans United organized a "Freedom to Marry Day Rally" on Valentine's Day, FEB-14. It was held in the rotunda of the State Capitol building.

They announced on their web site on FEB-12:

"Thousands of Minnesotans who support the freedom to marry are expected to attend the rally, which will be led by faith leaders. Beginning with a clergy procession and choir, the Freedom to Marry Day will serve as a key moment in working with state legislators to ensure that Minnesota state law reflects our shared beliefs that marriage is about love, commitment and responsibility and that no one should be told it is illegal to marry the person they love.

Speakers at the rally will include the Reverend MacArthur Flournoy, Deputy Director of the Human Rights Campaign’s Faith and Religion Program and Faith Director of the successful 2012 Marylanders for Marriage Campaign; Pastor Grant Stevensen, former Faith Director of Minnesotans United for All Families and pastor at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church and the Spirit of Truth Faith Community in St. Paul; Reverend Kelly Chatman, Pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Minnesota; Rabbi Melissa Simon of Shir Tikvah Congregation; and Senator Scott Dibble [D]. ..."

"Minnesotans United, the campaign that successfully defeated the hurtful marriage amendment in 2012, is committed to securing the freedom to marry for loving and committed same-sex couples in 2013." 8

They stated on their facebook page that:

"Thousands of Minnesota, [sic] led by faith leaders, rally at the State Capitol Rotunda urging our state legislators to support the freedom to marry in 2013. 'Now is the time, this is the year!' " 9

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More news expected.

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Site navigation:

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. David Badash, "Attempt To Ban Gay Marriage In Minnesota Constitution Fails," The New Civil Rights Movement, 2012-NOV-07, at:
  2. "Minnesota Marriage Minute: Episode 1," You Tube, 2012-JAN-03, at:
  3. "Results for Constitutional Amendments," Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State, 2012-NOV-09, at:
  4. Don Davis, "Minnesota voters reject marriage amendment," Duluth News Tribune, 2012-NOV-08, at:
  5. "Marriage," Minnesota Catholic Conference, at 2012-JUN-03, at: [No longer accessible]
  6. "Marriage Redefinition Legislation," Minnesota Catholic Conference, at 2013-FEB-19, at:
  7. Rep. Steve Drazkowski. "Viewpoint: Why Minnesotans should support marriage amendment," South Washington County Bulletin, 201-DEC-21, at:
  8. "Thousands to Gather in Support of the Freedom to Marry," Minnesotans United, 2013-FEB-12, at:
  9. Minnesotans United for All Families - Facebook page, Facebook, as on 2013-FEB-19, at:

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Copyright © 2012 & 2013, by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
First posted: 2012-SEP-15
Latest update: 2013-FEB-22
Author: B.A. Robinson

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