MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) – A U.S. Supreme Court decision Wednesday extending federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples was met with jubilation and criticism in Minnesota, barely six weeks after the state moved to legalize gay marriage.
Rep. Michele Bachmann and Rep. Keith Ellison shared their divergent views.
“Marriage was created by the hand of God. No man, not even a Supreme Court, can undo what a holy God has instituted,” Bachmann said in a statement to the press. “What the Court has done will undermine the best interest of children and the best interests of the United States.”
In contrast, Ellison said the ruling meant America is “one step closer to liberty and justice for all.”
Meanwhile, some of the people who fought to legalize gay marriage in Minnesota are rejoicing over the ruling that such couples should get the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples.
Sen. Bill Dibble was the author of the Senate bill that legalized gay marriage.
“In Minnesota, in August, folks are going to get married and if this ruling had not occurred, you would have had these rights and benefits in state laws, but not have any benefits under our federal laws,” Dibble said. “I’m overjoyed. It’s a tremendous ruling.”
Among the many federal benefits that married gay couples will now enjoy is the right to file federal taxes jointly.
The ruling also has implications for some health care benefits and Social Security benefits. The president of Service Employees International Union Healthcare Minnesota called the ruling “monumental.”
“We believe in fairness, in valuing all people. With this ruling, the federal government can’t say that some marriages are second-class,” Jamie Gulley said. “This is an enormous step toward achieving full equality for our LGBT brothers and sisters.”
Richard Carlbom, the strategist who led the campaign to legalize gay marriage in Minnesota, says the ruling is about more than benefits. Carlbom says the federal government is saying that gays are equal citizens under the law.
OutFront Minnesota praised both decisions, and said they will “add to the momentum for marriage,” but also took the opportunity to express disappointment over Tuesday’s Supreme Court ruling striking down part of the Voting Rights Act.
Opponents of gay marriage in Minnesota are claiming a qualified victory in two long-awaited Supreme Court rulings. The group Minnesota for Marriage fought unsuccessfully against this spring’s movement to make gay marriage legal in Minnesota. On Wednesday, the group said the court’s rulings demonstrate that there is no constitutional right to same-sex marriage.
Minnesota for Marriage chairman John Helmberger called both rulings bad but says they didn’t find any constitutional right to redefine marriage. Helmberger says it’s important for gay marriage opponents to work “harder than ever” on their cause.
Jason Adkins is the executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference.
“The court got it wrong. The Supreme court did an injustice to the American people,” Adkins said. “We are not giving up. If anything, our resolve is going to be strengthened by these sorts of events.”
In Minneapolis’ Loring Park, where volunteers are getting ready for this weekend’s PRIDE Festival, organizers say they expect crowds reaching nearly 500,000 in part because of the rulings. Last year, an estimated 200,000 people attended the festival.
“We kind of expected this to come down at the end of the month with the Supreme Court ruling,” said board chair Scott Feldman. “But to have it this week is very exciting. It makes a great celebration for us.”
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