I spent a lot of time when I was a kid, during the hot summers - in the “land of 10,000 lakes” - better known as the state of Minnesota. My maternal grandparents were born and raised in the north star state, and we had lots of fun visiting relatives in Edina, and Minneapolis, before we’d make the trek to the southwestern corner of the state, to a bustling suburb of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
I would describe Pipestone, Minnesota as a small prairie town. It’s also the county seat of Pipestone County, with a reported population of 4,317 people in the 2010 census. It’s not a bustling suburb of Sioux Falls, though that’s the largest city in close proximity to the town. My grandparents were born and raised in Pipestone, and I loved visiting our extended family during those long hot summers.
Because of my family connection to the state, and my many fond memories, I’ve paid close attention to politics in Minnesota. Gay rights have been a thorny issue in the state for years, and before the state Republican party imploded in Minnesota, they had blocked any real progress for many years.
Rep. Michele ‘Bozo’ Bachmann owes her political career to her anti-gay crusades as a Minnesota state Senator. Before she became famous for trying to make out with President George W. Bush on the House floor, she was widely known in Minnesota for her contretemps with another bush. During a rally for gay rights at the state capitol, she was caught spying on the assembled crowd, while she was ducking behind a bush.
When I learned that the Minnesota state Senate passed their gay marriage legislation yesterday, I was beyond thrilled and was brought to tears. Senator Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis) and many of his DFL colleagues in the House and Senate, have worked tirelessly to pass this bill. John Helmberger, chairman of Minnesota for Marriage, and his staff and volunteers worked their tails off to defeat the anti-gay ballot measure in last November’s election, and rallied the troops to lobby the public and state politicians on behalf of the legislation, over the past seven months.In the Minneapolis Star Tribune, reporters Baird Helgeson and Jim Ragsdale described the frenzied crowd in the state capitol.
Amid roaring chants from supporters and tears from opponents, the state Senate took a historic, final step Monday to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota.
The 37-30 vote came after a failed, last-ditch attempt by opponents to scuttle the measure.
“I’m going to be a married man in Minnesota!” DFL Sen. Scott Dibble, the Senate’s only openly gay member, proclaimed to supporters after emerging from the chamber.
One Republican, Sen. Branden Petersen, joined a majority of DFL legislators to make Minnesota the 12th state to legalize gay marriage. Three DFLers voted against the measure.
Sen. Dan Hall, R-Burnsville, pleaded with colleagues to vote the bill down: “Don’t vote what you know is morally wrong,” said Hall, a former CEO of Midwest Chaplains. “May God help us."
Minnesota becomes the first Midwestern state to legalize same-sex marriage by legislative vote, and the latest victory for those working to extend marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples across the nation. Monday’s action technically repeals a state statute that had prohibited such unions.
In the St. Paul Pioneer Press, reporter Megan Boldt described a similar scene in the state capitol, and the jubilation of the assembled crowd.
With deafening cheers ringing throughout the Capitol corridors, the Minnesota Senate approved a bill to legalize same-sex marriage Monday, May 13, positioning the state to become the 12th to put marriage equality into law.
It passed on a 37-30 vote, with one Republican crossing party lines to vote "yes" and three Democrats voting "no."
Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to sign the bill Tuesday, and gay couples could begin marrying Aug. 1.
"Sometimes the simplest bills are the most powerful in affecting peoples' lives for the better," said bill sponsor Sen. Scott Dibble, a Minneapolis DFLer who previously married Richard Leyva in California.
"With just a few words, we have the ability to bring loving families across the entire state of Minnesota into the full sunshine of equality and freedom that they've been denied for so long."
Gay marriage supporters far outnumbered opponents Monday at the Capitol. Decked in orange and blue, they chanted, "We've got your back," as lawmakers left the Senate chamber.
St. Paul already has planned a celebration for Tuesday, with Dayton's 5 p.m. bill signing on the Capitol steps and a "Love is Law" ou
tdoor concert afterward at Ecolab Plaza downtown.
I’m thrilled for Minnesota, and happy for the great people of the state, as well as my friends and family living there. They are the 12th state in the nation to embrace marriage equality, and the 3rd state in 3 weeks to do so.
I wish that I could have watched Rep. Michele ‘Bozo’ Bachmann (R-MN) weep when she heard the news. She’ll probably blame this marriage loss on Satan. Right - that’s a plausible explanation!
Bachmann’s hatred for all things gay, motivated so many of us to make a commitment to take up arms and work to defeat the anti-gay campaign that she, and so many others like her, have fueled for so many years.
Every time we speak authentically and truthfully, and cite facts instead of innuendo, we’re counteracting the lies and misinformation that these anti-gay hucksters try to sell to anyone who will listen.
‘Bozo’ Bachmann wouldn’t know the truth if it was staring her in the face, and the truth of the matter is that at 5:00pm today when Governor Mark Dayton signs the bill, gay marriage will be legal in the state of Minnesota.
The Bachmann Brigade and her ilk lost the battles in Rhode Island and Delaware and Minnesota, and they lost the war a long time ago. The only thing standing in the way of full marriage equality in all fifty states is destiny.
As the Late Late Show’s Craig Ferguson likes to say, “it’s a great day for America!”
A great day indeed.
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