Reporting Colin Smith
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The group that asked Minnesota to ‘Vote No’ in November will lobby to legalize gay marriage in 2013.
Minnesotans United for All Families announced on Thursday it will work with lawmakers and Gov. Mark Dayton to push the issue in the new legislative session that begins next month.
“This conversation that we started 19 months ago continues, and just because we defeated the amendment doesn’t mean it’s over,” said Minnesotans United Communications director Jake Loesch. “What we saw was a real development with people engaging in a serious conversation about what marriage means and why it’s important.”
Dayton has said he would sign a bill to legalize gay marriage, but he and top Democrats, who now control both the House and Senate, have been reluctant to openly endorse a gay marriage push in 2013. They say filling a new state budget deficit is the greater priority.
Loesch, a former Republican staffer who worked to convince GOP voters to reject the marriage amendment, says they will work with lawmakers in the coming months to create a more complete game plan.
“Legislators in St. Paul have a lot of things on their plate,” Loesch said. “We’re not discussing which legislators we want to carry bills or anything like that, this is just an initial announcement that we want to make sure securing the freedom to marry is a priority amongst all of the other priorities (lawmakers) have.”
Gay marriage opponents are skeptical, believing there is no guarantee the same voters who rejected the amendment ban will back same-sex marriage.
“The defeat of the marriage amendment was not an endorsement of gay marriage,” Minnesota for Marriage Chairman John Helmberger wrote to supporters in an email sent on Thursday. “The amendment was defeated by a narrow margin. And, it passed in 75 out of 87 counties across Minnesota.
“That means that legislators did not receive a mandate from their constituents to redefine marriage.”