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Religious Tolerance logo

Same sex marriage (SSM), civil unions, etc. in Minnesota

Part 9:
2013-MAR: Another public opinion poll. Rally
at the Capitol. Senate committee passed SSM bill.

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This topic is a continuation from the previous essay

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"SSM" is an acronym for Same Sex Marriage.
"LGBT" is an acronym for Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transsexuals

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2013-MAR-05: Star Tribune Minnesota Poll results show deeply divided, conservative state:

The poll surveyed 800 adults between FEB-25 and 27 via land line and cell phone. The margin of error is ±3.5 percentage points. Results showed a deeply divided state in which:

  • Women, persons under 50, urban dwellers, and Democrats significantly favoring SSM, and
  • Men, persons 50 and over, rural dwellers and Republicans strongly opposed.

National polling results show the same general trends, when comparing people on the basis of gender, age, location, and political party. But the results in Minnesota are far more conservative. For example, adults under 35 years of age in national polls show about 80% support for SSM compared with only 55% in Minnesota. Senior citizens show 44% support nationally compared with only 20% in Minnesota.

Some polling results:

Group Favor SSM Opposed to SSM Undecided/no answer
All adults
Hennepin/Ramsey region
Metro suburbs
Rest of state
Adults aged 18 to 34
35 to 49
50 to 64
65 and older

These results are very different from an earlier poll conducted by Public Policy Polling during 2013-JAN-19. The PPP poll involved a larger sample and thus had a smaller margin of error at ±3.0 percentage points. It showed:

  • 47% favor same-sex marriage
  • 45% are opposed.
  • 8% are undecided or did not answer.

The reason for the discrepancy between the two polls is unknown. In the past, major differences in results have been caused by:

  • Different wording of the actual question asked,
  • Whether cell phone and land line numbers were used in the survey, or just land line numbers,
  • The time of day that the poll was taken, and
  • Whether the SSM question was proceeded with questions on other topics. If so, the topic of these questions.

The cause of the difference in these two polls will probably remain a mystery.

If opposition to SSM exceeded support by 15 percentage points as the Star Tribune poll shows, then one would have expected that the referendum during 2012-NOV to ban SSM through a constitutional amendment would have passed comfortably. However, it failed by about 5 percentage points. Thus, we suspect that the PPP poll is probably more accurate.

Autumn Leva, spokesperson for Minnesota for Marriage -- the main group opposing marriage equality in the state -- apparently used the Star Tribune poll data just before the vote on the SSM bill in the House on 2013-MAY-09 to support her statement that:

"The vast majority of Minnesotans around the state are not happy about this. Especially in greater Minnesota. They feel the Legislature is pushing this on them when that's not what they voted for in November."

It may be worth remembering that in matters related to fundamental human rights, courts and legislatures sometimes act to honor equal rights long before the public is ready and comfortable to do so. For example, in 1967, about 72% of the public was opposed to interracial marriage and 48% felt that marrying a person of another race should be prosecuted as a criminal act. That was the year when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized interracial marriage everywhere in the U.S.

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2013-MAR-07: Anti-SSM rally at state Capitol:

Rally at state capitol 2 Hundreds of people opposing SSM held a religiously motivated rally at the state Capitol. Some held a sign saying: "The legalization of homosexuality induce children to gay relationships." The meaning of their sign is not clear:

  • They may believe that homosexual behavior or orientation are criminalized in Minnesota, and that the question being debated was whether same-gender sexual behavior by adults in private should be legalized. However, the U.S. Supreme Court determined in the 2003 case Lawrence v. Texas by the usual 5 to 4 vote that such sexual behavior is legal throughout the U.S.

  • The topic of the current debate is not whether same-gender sexual behavior is legal; it is whether the definition of marriage should be widened to include loving, committed same-sex couples and their children.

  • They may have meant to say "introduce" instead of "induce," But on the order of 5% of the adult population of the U.S. is either gay or lesbian, while another 5% are bisexual. Many are in relationships. So, it can be argued that same-gender sexual relationships are a fact of life that needs to be included in the educational system in order for students to be fully informed of human behavior.

  • The sign may be a reflection of the belief that if we just stop talking about SSM and the LGBT community, that children and youth will not choose to be gay. A near consensus has been reached among therapists, human sexuality researchers, religious liberals, etc. that one's sexual orientation is not chosen; it is discovered. One indication of this is that child psychologists can determine which 5-year-olds will become gay or lesbian in adulthood with about 85% accuracy.

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2013-MAR-12: Senate committee endorsed SSM bill:

After three hours of emotional testimony, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the SSM bill on a strict party-line vote: 5 to 3. All the Democrats voted in favor of the bill; all the Republicans voted against it. This voting behavior has occurred in other states in recent months. It certainly does make it easier for political commentators to predict the future outcome of bills being considered by the Legislature; they need only to count the number of Democrats and Republicans in the House or Senate to estimate the final vote.

Senator Scott Dibble (D) said that he is "reasonably confident" that his bill can be approved by the full Senate.

Senator Dan Hall said that for a person to get married doesn't make them any more or less valuable in society. He said that the definition of marriage should be left up to God. Considering that the vast majority of adults in Minnesota identify with the Jewish, Christian or Muslim religion, perhaps a more accurate statement would have been that it should be left up to theologians' interpretation of the Bible's statements about marriage. Unfortunately, such interpretations by educated, thoughtful, sincere, intelligent theologians vary from strong support among liberal and progressive Christians to strong opposition among conservative Christians. 3

The Human Rights Campaign's blog stated: "It was an incredible scene with overflow crowds filling viewing areas around the state Capitol..." 4

Sarah Warbelow, State Legislative Director of the Human Rights Campaign, a group favoring same-sex marriage, testified in favor of the bill, When interviewed by 429 Magazine, she said:

"We're incredibly excited by the progress. It's just amazing to have partners on the ground like Project 515, OutFront Minnesota, and Minnesota United." Each of the three organizations campaigned to progress marriage equality in the state. 4

Richard Carlborm, a campaign manager for Minnesota United said:

"Minnesotans want to see our shared values represented in our state law, and those values simply do not include excluding some people from having the freedom to marry and pursue happiness just because of who they are." 5

His comment is supported by the recent defeat of the proposed constitutional amendment mentioned previously. The Public Policy Polling poll also indicated a small margin of support for SSM. However, the Star Tribune poll described above indicates the opposite.

A substantial percentage of evangelical Christians, Republicans, and senior citizens sincerely wish the opposite. We suspect that much of their desire to restrict the rights of lesbians, gays and bisexuals is their belief that persons with a minority sexual orientation make a conscious choice to become sexually active with persons of the same gender, and that they can convert back to heterosexuality with some effort. Other factors may include a concern that God might punish the people of Minnesota with a natural disaster because of his disapproval of marriage equality, and a genuine concern for the fate of sexually active homosexuals after death in Hell. Many religious conservatives interpret a group of "clobber" passages in the New Testament as implying that persons who are sexually active with members of the same sex will spend eternity in the torture chambers of Hell.

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This topic continues in the next essay

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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. "Minnesota Poll results: Same-sex marriage," StarTribune, 2013-MAR-05, at:
  2. Single frame from WCCO video: Pat Kessler, "Hundreds Rally Against Gay Marriage At State’s Capitol," CBS Local, 2013-MAR-07, at:
  3. "Minnesota Senate committee advances same-sex marriage bill," LGBTQNATION, 2013-MAR-12, at:
  4. Anna Peirano, "Minnesota passes marriage equality through Senate Judiciary Committee," 429 Magazine, 2013-MAR-12, at:
  5. Michelle Garcia, "Minnesota: Committee Sends Marriage Bill to Senate Floor," Advocate, 3013-MAR-12, at:

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Copyright © 2013, by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
First posted: 2013-FEB-24
Latest update: 2013-MAY-10
Author: B.A. Robinson

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