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Group Works To Protect Gay-Marriage Supporting Lawmakers

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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ST. PAUL (WCCO) — A Minnesota group that formed to defeat a gay marriage ban, and successfully lobby for legalizing same-sex marriage, is taking another political step today: Defending lawmakers who voted yes on gay marriage.

Last month, the Minnesota House voted 75 to 59 and the Senate 37-30.

Minnesota became the 12th state to legalize it. And for some lawmakers, that vote was politically tough.

A new Minnesotans United Political Action Committee said there are 15 lawmakers who might need extra help, including Rep. Tim Faust.

He said he has no regrets about his vote to legalize gay marriage, even though most of the people in his district are against it.

“When you look at where my district is at, on a multitude of other issues, I’m with them on just about every other issue,” he said.

Even so, Faust knows his re-election could be challenging. And he’s on a list of five lawmakers getting outside help from a powerful pro-gay marriage PAC, Minnesotans United.

More names are coming, but the first list includes only Democrats outside the Twin Cities:

Rep. Joe Radinovich, (DFL) Crosby

Rep. Shannon Savick, (DFL) Wells

Rep. Tim Faust (DFL) Hinckley

Rep. Roger Erickson, (DFL) Baudette

Rep. John Persell, (DFL) Bemidji

Minnesota United’s Richard Carlbom said the group selected lawmakers in difficult races.

“We really looked at who we felt like needed the most help in terms of re-election races,” he said. “We will spend whatever it takes to get these folks re-elected.”

The National Organization for Marriage, opposing legalization, calls Minnesota United “a DFL-oriented, leftist group.”

In a statement, they wrote, “NOM intends to defeat all the Republicans and as many Democrats as possible who voted to redefine marriage. We will work tirelessly with our allies to ensure that those who betrayed marriage cast a career-ending vote. The Republican legislators who did this, in particular, should note that so far they’ve been left at the altar by Minnesota United, which is a DFL-oriented, leftist group. Once we defeat legislators over their vote to redefine marriage, we will begin the long road of restoring true marriage in the state of Minnesota.”

The National Organization for Marriage, which was the largest single contributor to the failed effort in Minnesota to ban gay marriage, promises to spend $500,000 to defeat any Minnesota Republican, and as many Democrats as possible, who voted yes.

Faust said he’ll work hard to win again, but if he loses, that’s OK.

“Because I’m the one who has to sleep at night with the vote that I take, and I’m convinced it was the right thing to do,” he said.

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