MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Next week marks the fifth anniversary of a major milestone in Minnesota.
Gov. Mark Dayton signed the law legalizing same-sex marriage in Minnesota on May 14, 2013.
And five years later, it has sparked a major change in how Minnesota feels about it.
It is hard to remember just how widespread the opposition to same-sex marriage was.
Running for president in 2008, Democrat Barack Obama was against gay marriage, as was Hillary Clinton. And liberal California passed a constitutional amendment banning it.
But change was coming, fast.
An anti-gay marriage group named “Minnesota for Marriage” in 2012 supported an amendment to the Minnesota constitution, which would have legally defined marriage as between one man and one woman.
It aired a series of television commercials, including one in which it said, “Everyone has a right to love who they choose. But nobody has a right to redefine marriage.”
Minnesotans defeated the constitutional ban on gay marriage at the polls in 2012, and six months later, Minnesota state lawmakers legalized same-sex marriage.
In 2013, only 38 percent of Minnesotans supported same-sex marriage, and 53 percent opposed it.
Five years later, in 2018, 67 percent support same sex marriage.
In fact, support for same-sex marriage is now the majority opinion in 44 states, a lightning-quick change in public attitude. Nationwide, 61 percent of Americans support it while 30 percent are opposed.
But five years after same-sex marriage, there is still controversy. The U.S. Supreme Court will decide soon whether a Colorado baker can refuse to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple because of his religious beliefs.
If the religious freedom objection is upheld, it could change how opponents of gay marriage can operate a business.
Meanwhile, the number of Minnesota same-sex marriages continue to grow.
In 2014, the first full year it was legal, Minnesota married 2,934 same-sex couples, or 5.868 people in total.
In 2016, according to the Minnesota State Demographer’s office, “On 1 July 2016 there were 8,594 households that included same-sex married couples. That’s 17,164 individuals when both the spouse and head of householder are counted.”
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