R.T. Rybak wants gay marriage legalized ASAP; why might DFL drag its heels?

rybak new rect.JPG
With the marriage amendment defeated, Rybak wants the legislature to act quickly and legalize gay marriage.
:::: UPDATE :::: After this post was published, Rybak communications director John Stiles reached out to City Pages with the following clarification: "I'd only point out that nowhere in [Rybak's Facebook post] does he put a timeline on [legalizing gay marriage]. 'As soon as possible' are your words, not his." We'd argue 'ASAP' is implied by the mayor's language [check out his Facebook post after the jump] but wanted to add Stiles' clarification to set the record straight.

No doubt, Tuesday was a huge victory for supporters of same-sex marriage. But with the amendment defeated, Gov. Dayton signing legislation for at least a couple more years, and DFL majorities in the Senate and House, it makes you wonder -- what's stopping Democrats from passing a bill legalizing gay marriage as soon as the 2013 legislative session convenes?

-- Marriage equality found least support in southwest MN, most support in Mpls [MAPS]
-- MN for Marriage's concession: "God has defined marriage as between one man and one woman"

If the DFL House and Senate caucuses united in support of gay marriage, there isn't much anybody could do to stop them. But alas, the issue remains a somewhat divisive one for Democrats.

One prominent Minnesota Democrat who is unambiguous about his desire to see gay marriage legalized as soon as possible is our own R.T. Rybak, who shared this on Facebook Wednesday:

rt rybak facebook.jpg

But Democratic legislators -- with some notable exceptions, such as longtime gay marriage advocates Sen. John Marty and Rep. Phyllis Kahn -- are striking a more cautious tone.

From the Pioneer Press:
For Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, who has said he'll seek to become majority leader, a fight over marriage is not a top priority.

"I think anybody that has policy ideas need to find a way to put them on the back shelf right now. This state has serious financial challenges," Bakk said at the news conference...

[Sen. Scott] Dibble, who is gay and served on the committee that put same-sex marriage into the national Democratic Party platform, also is urging caution.

"I think we need to just pause for a second and really understand what this victory yesterday means," he said. "I don't know if we're going to immediately proceed to an effort to repeal Minnesota's DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) law, but I do know that we are going to continue to take a look at having this discussion."

Dibble did have a prediction about himself and his partner. "We'll be married in Minnesota in our lifetime," he said.
Some local political pundits, such as the Minnesota Progressive Project's Jeff Rosenberg, argue the DFL should move aggressively to legalize gay marriage:
Minnesota voters just made history by defeating the Marriage Discrimination Amendment, and they gave the DFL a majority in both houses of the legislature while they were at it. The DFL has a mandate to pursue a bold agenda for reform... The very first thing they should do, though, is officially legalize same-sex marriage... It's time for full equality, and there has never been a better opportunity.

In the past, Democrats generally, and the DFL specifically, have often preferred to hedge on same-sex marriage. But the DFL came out strongly against the amendment, and they should not retreat from their support for equal marriage. They should build on it and make a stand for full equality.

Discrimination based on sexual orientation is unequivocally wrong. If two consenting adults love each other and want to marry, the state should not restrict that. It's time to declare that loudly and proudly -- not just by refusing to place discrimination in the Constitution, but by finally granting our LGBT citizens full equality.
Gov. Dayton, for his part, said during a Wednesday news conference that the new DFL House and Senate caucuses deserve a chance to meet and talk among themselves "before we formulate what our policies will be or won't be." But one thing is for certain -- if the DFL decides to make gay marriage a priority next session, the MNGOP, for the first time since 1990, will be unable to do much of anything about it.

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DavidFoureyes topcommenter

Slow your roll DFL.


Likely more than the 2% of voters that got the amendment rejected voted because either a) gay marriage is already illegal and saw through the stupid GOP play to get them to the polls that it was (can you say backfire) and/or b) may have been actual "limited government" republicans that thinks the government should stay out of this altogether.


Do not be romanced into thinking that had this been a vote to "legalize" gay marriage, it would have had the same numbers. No way. Remember, those "blanks" count against you when you make the question, "should the state define marriage as the union between two adults".


Give it four years. Let some of the old people and old ideas die...the longer we wait, the better the result. Time is on our side.


This is why I started "Minnesotans for Swift Marriage Equality" on fb. 

green23 topcommenter

 @DavidFoureyes While I agree that now is not the time for this, you seem to think that there is a proposal for another referendum to legalise SSM. There isn't.


The reason that this went to a referendum is that the MN Republicans were doing an end run around Dayton's certain veto. The Legislature is well within its rights to pass a law allowing SSM, as long as Dayton will sign it.

MicheleBachmann topcommenter

 @DavidFoureyes People like bold politicians not afraid to do the right thing.  They don't like cowards pretending the government has some right to tell people who to love.  I'm not afraid of old people.  If the next election is about gay marriage the DFL will win.  DFL can talk about gay people and sound like adults, the GOP just sounds like bigots.

DavidFoureyes topcommenter

 @green23 If you'd read my last comment, you'll note I said, "Wouldn't it be nice to not have to sweat the vote or sweat that if it were passed in the legislature, it would not then be challenged by referendum?"


And thus:


I understand perfectly that the legislature can move to perform this...however my point is that it would be at the expense of pissing-off more than 50% of the MN electorate, which would serve MN's new democrat majority poorly come next election.


If the legislature waits to complete this, they will not only have more support from the electorate at large, they will have sufficient backing that a popular-veto ballot measure (referendum) would be a waste of time and money for the cathol....those vested in seeing marriage remain defined as it is.


Even if the legislature passes it and the Governor signs it, the measure would not be out of the woods until a majority of MN's agree with it (from a tactical standpoint and the standpoint of being decent), which I think we can all agree is likely not the case today.

DavidFoureyes topcommenter

@MicheleBachmann Some people like bold politicians, like Michele Bachmann, whose "ready, shoot, aim" approach to communicating highlights a certain charming idealism that alienates half the people in her district and 90% of high school graduates. Make no mistake: She thinks she is doing the right thing.


Others of us have a great deal of disdain for "bold" politics and instead hold in high regard, pragmatism. Rather than spend the time and money twice to get this done, I'd rather see us measuring our time and opportunity to ensure the result is the one we all want and ensure everyone understands why it is the right thing to do. Let's call this type of thinking Amy Klobucharian.


To equate pragmatism with cowardliness would be the trap of the frightened GOP hillbilly who doesn't have the mental maturity to realize that bringing fists to a gunfight doesn't get you the outcome you'd prefer. Lets educate the electorate, not boldly cram shit down their throats.

DavidFoureyes topcommenter

Being wise and being virtuous are not mutually exclusive. You are no less virtuous by being patient than you would be being impetuous. The WSJ had an article this morning about how, within the last 8 years, voters aged 18-29 have moved in favor of same-sex marriage from 45% then to 62% today. This will only continue to build as that electorate grows older. If they could poll them, I bet 14-17 year olds have an even higher percentage that understand gay rights as human rights. Wouldn't it be nice to not have to sweat the vote or sweat that if it were passed in the legislature, it would not then be challenged by referendum?


I don't know if you've ever had to serve within an organization where consensus must be built in order for you to move your agenda forward (a board, a commission, public service), but simply banging your head against a wall, trying to accomplish what you know is right by just bringing up for a vote constantly is an immature way to proceed, and frequently backfires. People tire of your "boldness" and abstain from votes because they dislike your tact. Let us continue to educate our friends and neighbors and wait for a few more old-ideas to die.

MicheleBachmann topcommenter

 @DavidFoureyes  Doing the right thing isn't boldly cramming shit down people's throats, its doing the right thing.  It's really easy to tell people they should be patient  but your patience is having an effect on real people's lives.  When you do the right thing good will come from it eventually.   There is nothing wrong with being gay and wanting to marry the person you love.   The Dems need to show their base they will do what they say.  The time has come, the adults are in charge.  It's time to stop playing games with gay people's lives.

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