Action: Thank Democrats Who Just Supported A Marriage Vote in Minnesota

As Josh already noted, defenders of marriage scored a big victory in Minnesota this weekend, when their State House voted to pass a bill already passed by their State Senate to allow Minnesotans to vote on the definition of marriage in 2012.

Minnesota now joins Indiana, Maryland, Rhode Island and North Carolina which have seen progress made towards protecting marriage this year (pray that New York is next!).

The National Organization for Marriage has pledged their full support to ensuring traditional marriage wins the day next year and the Minnesota Catholic Conference released a statement welcoming the outcome.

In both the House and the Senate, a handful of brave Democrats (actually, the Democrat party in MN is the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party, or “DFL”) joined Republicans to create a bipartisan majority of elected MN officials who favored allowing the people to decide the marriage question.

It takes a great deal of courage to buck your party and vote for marriage if you are an elected Democrat. The litany of abusive language leveled at any legislator or person who dared to allow the people to vote on marriage is briefly cataloged here (to summarize: they were described as pro-bullying, Nazi-inspired, slavery-sympathetic, pro-stoning, anti-woman, and of course anti-gay bigots, on the Minnesota House floor, to their faces!).

In the House, two DFL’s ended up voting for the marriage amendment bill, and in the Senate, one DFL stood with the Republicans – we should contact them and thank them for putting principle over party:

Rep. Lyle Koenen
651-296-4346
rep.lyle.koenen@house.mn

Rep. Denise Dittrich
651-296-5513
rep.denise.dittrich@house.mn

Sen. Leroy Stumpf
651-296-8660
sen.leroy.stumpf@senate.mn

Plus there’s nothing to stop you from thanking every legislator who voted for the bill. The complete list of pro-marriage House officials here and the list of pro-marriage Senate officials here (every “R” and Sen. Stumf, DFL). You can bet they are getting plenty of hate mail – please help show them that the quiet majority appreciates what they did.

Be advised – four Republicans in the House did vote against the bill (Kriesel, Murray, Smith, and Kelly). Kriesel’s staff had previously sent this threatening note to a local Catholic priest over the marriage debate.

The number of good Catholics (and other people of faith) who worked to help pass the marriage amendment is too long to list, but special props go to Teresa Collett and Stephen Heaney for their op-ed in the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, and to a very dedicated young papist in Minnesota who helped keep me stay up to speed with what was happening on the ground day by day (or more often, hour by hour).

Finally, special ignominy goes to Rep. Joe Mullery (DFL) for introducing this anti-Catholic bill in the heat of the marriage amendment debate:

As part of “Catholic governance” [the bill reads] a parish “shall be governed by the congregation. Every member of the parish shall be entitled to vote at meetings.”

The bill violates the separation of church and state required by the U.S. Constitution, said religious scholars and critics of the legislation.

Jason Adkins, executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference, which lobbies on behalf of the state’s bishops, said the bill “represents a gross intrusion of the state into the affairs and governance of a church. The bishop is responsible for the governance of his particular diocese. It violates that very core principle of Catholic doctrine and Catholic life and practice.”

So, to recap, brave Catholics and other people of faith worked in Minnesota to propose a simple proposition: that for something as fundamental as the definition of marriage, the people (not the courts) should decide what marriage is.

For doing so, these folks had criticism and abuse hurled at them – and some elected officials, in reprisal, went so far as to threaten the Church’s tax status and to attempt to take away its right to self govern.

But in the end, once again, the victory went to the committed and courageous faithful. Praise God.

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11 thoughts on “Action: Thank Democrats Who Just Supported A Marriage Vote in Minnesota

  1. Pete says:

    @Phil,
    I look at the question this way: Some of our laws are good aside from the fact that might also be the laws of a particular religion. Should you be required to follow the States laws of “Thou shalt not kill?” Of course. The fact that it is a religious law as well is not the issue. The issue for me then is what laws are necessary and helpful for us as a society. There are many religious laws (e.g., the rules for baptism or the requirements for a bar mitzvah) that are not also State laws. So, what is the State’s interest in marriage and regulating it and what is the best way to do that for a particular State’s citizens. Should civil gay marriage be encouraged or discouraged?

    1. Phil says:

      @Pete, you seem to be saying that it is possible for persons of faith to put aside their religion and vote on civil legislation without taking their personal religion into consideration. I agree that this is possible, but that certainly isn’t the context of Thomas Peters’ original post. He writes:

      But in the end, once again, the victory went to the committed and courageous faithful. Praise God.

      That’s not the language of someone putting aside his religion in order to voice a political opinion. Nowhere in the post does he talk of people putting their faith aside in order to do what they believe is best for the state. The post is clearly and directly connecting Catholicism with opposition to legal same-sex marriage. If you honestly believe that your position on same-sex marriage is completely unconnected to your religious beliefs, then please say so explicitly, with no ambiguity. Say, “Even if there were no god, no supernatural, and no afterlife, my position on civil same-sex marriage would be as follows…”

      So, what is the State’s interest in marriage and regulating it and what is the best way to do that for a particular State’s citizens.

      The original post takes the stance that the right to vote is fundamental. But is it more fundamental than marriage? Would you be willing to divorce your spouse for the right to vote in a single state election?

  2. Bruce says:

    The Cathedral of St. Paul was vandalized this weekend, and while the motive is unknown at this point, it may not be a coincidence that the vote on marriage occurred this weekend as well. As seen in California, violence and vandalism go hand in hand with the homosexual activist movement, so it would not surprise anyone. Let us pray for the vandals. http://www.twincities.com/ci_18128553?nclick_check=1

  3. Davide says:

    Excellent post Thomas Thank you

  4. PaxDominus says:

    These Minnesota state legislators, both DFL and GOP, who supported the marriage amendment are heroes who have risked their political careers to stand for the Truth. We should offer them our utmost gratitude, support, and prayers and I call on my brother and sister Catholics and all people of good will to join me in doing precisely that.

  5. Phil says:

    So, to recap, brave Catholics and other people of faith worked in Minnesota to propose a simple proposition: that for something as fundamental as the definition of marriage, the people (not the courts) should decide what marriage is.

    Your phrasing of this makes it sound as if everyday citizens are being thwarted by a powerful entity (the courts) if they don’t get to vote on the marriage rights of their peers.

    But if marriage is really important, wouldn’t it be best to leave such a personal decision up to individual citizens?

    As it stands, everyday citizens are often thwarted by a privileged majority (heterosexuals and Christians.) Should an atheist homosexual in a committed relationship be forced to follow God’s law? For that matter, should an Unitarian homosexual be forced to follow God’s law?

    As it stands, you are suggesting here that the right to vote is more important than the right to marry. Do you really believe that? Would you divorce your spouse for the right to vote in a single election?

    1. Scott W. says:

      I will partially agree with Phil. Every time the people are allowed to vote on marriage, they overwhelming vote to support true marriage. But the problem is that this is the case for now. What happens if the disease of moral relativism spreads and the people vote for the legal fiction of same-sex marriage? The fact is that things like abortion and same-sex marriage can be demonstrated to be morally abhorent even without recourse to Divine Law–in other words, they are true despite whatever people vote. The question is will the State recognize the truth or eventually sanction a lie by legislative fiat? The problem is that the agents of chaos could lose this fight a thousand times; they only need win once.

      Sorry to be a downer because this is indeed good news that another state has chosen not to hurl itself into the abyss.

      1. GREG SMITH says:

        Dear Scott~ I’m not familiar with the other state votes on marriage issues, however, here in California Proposition 8 won by 4.88%. I don’t believe even the most generous interpretation can consider this an overwhelming vote against gay marriage. According to Rich Schneider a California pollster, Proposition 22, an earlier anti same-sex marriage initiative which passed in 1990, has been losing support at about 1% per year. Equality California may, depending on polling results, promote an initiative to repeal Proposition 8 in November 2012. If a vote is taken then, all evidence seems to indicate that 8 will be repealed or survive by a very slim margin, probably a point or less. ~ Best regards, Greg

        1. Scott W. says:

          Quibble noted and taken. My point stands however, even if 99% of the world votes for same-sex marriage, that doesn’t make it true.

    2. Bruce says:

      Marriage is not a Christian institution alone, since it predates Christianity. It is a natural institution unique to human beings, and as such, can be defined and defended based solely upon natural law and reason. For more information on why this issue is important to all people, including atheists, please refer to Dr. George’s (Princeton) article defining marriage and answering your very question: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1722155

      1. Phil says:

        Bruce writes:

        It is a natural institution unique to human beings, and as such, can be defined and defended based solely upon natural law and reason.

        Bruce, in your understanding, does natural law theory posit that there is a creator, or a supreme being?

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