Commentary: The DFL’s Big Gay Farce

On November 6th, 2012, the people of Minnesota defeated an amendment to the state constitution that would have made the definition of marriage solely between one man and one woman.  An enormous movement grew to oppose this amendment and in the end it was defeated.  As a gay man with a life partner, I opposed the amendment but knew what was really happening.  A bitter, disjointed DFL was using this issue as a wedge to regain control of the state legislature.  They couldn’t care less if gays and lesbians can marry their partners or not.  It was all a farce, a canard, a fairy tale intended to gin up their base and create havoc using gay people as pawns in their sick little games.

Here’s how I know this.

From MNUnitedforAllFamilies:

“About the Big Gay Race  -by Jacob Frey

Last year, I organized The Big Gay Race 5k to mobilize the community, and to fight the anti-marriage amendment. The event was a huge success, as over 2,000 happy, smiling warriors took to the streets of Minneapolis in support of love, commitment, and the freedom to marry for ALL Minnesotans and their families.”  All for a fee of course.  This organization ended up collecting over $4.6 million dollars to fund their opposition to the following:

“Minnesotans United for All Families is a broad coalition of organizations and community and business leaders having conversations with Minnesotans about why this amendment – which seeks to limit the freedom to marry for committed couples in Minnesota – must be defeated.  Faith, labor, progressive, and nonpartisan organizations, communities of color, current and former elected officials, Republicans, Democrats, Greens, Independents, and Libertarians have all joined with our campaign to defeat this constitutional amendment and encourage Minnesotans to vote NO in November.”

Now, this is interesting information.  So, this organization fought against an amendment that “seeks to limit the freedom to marry for committed couples in Minnesota.”  Really.  But, Minnesota doesn’t have same-sex marriage so how would the amendment limit something we don’t have?  Bizarre.

It’s even odder when you take a gander at the rogue’s gallery of leftists, progressives and socialists on that very same page, including the Minnesota DFL.  They jumped in with both feet.  But, I’m confused.  If same-sex marriage isn’t legal, who passed that law in the first place?  To understand, let’s go back to 1993 when a Hawaii court ruled the state must issue same-sex couples marriage licenses.   It wasn’t a legislative act but an activist court and it set this firestorm off.

From MPR:

“To head that off, in 1996, a Republican-controlled U.S. Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, the first federal law defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Democratic President Bill Clinton signed it into law. It would prevent gay couples from receiving federal benefits. It also meant states wouldn’t have to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.”

Oh, so the Republicans passed it and Democrat Clinton signed it.  Certainly Minnesota’s DFLers voted against DOMA, right?

“Nine members of Minnesota’s delegation voted for it. Martin Sabo of Minneapolis, the Democratic congressman representing Minnesota’s 5th district, was the lone member of the Minnesota delegation to vote against it.

Two years later, in this MPR Midday call-in show in 1998, the late Democratic Sen. Paul Wellstone, who had voted for DOMA, was still hearing from people unhappy with his vote.”

Holy handball!  So progressive/socialist Wellstone voted AGAINST same-sex marriage to be recognized federally or across state lines?  This is amazing.  What was he thinking?  Well, we can be sure the DFLers in the state legislature weren’t so hateful toward gay couples.  Or were they?

“In 1997, the Minnesota Legislature passed its own version of what has been referred to as the Defense of Marriage Act (Laws of Minnesota 1997, Chapter 203, Article 10). The governor approved it on June 2, 1997. This act clarified that “lawful marriage may be contracted only between persons of the opposite sex” and went on to specifically prohibit “marriage between persons of the same sex” (Minnesota Statutes chapter 517.01 and 517.03).”  According to the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library, the DFL controlled both houses in 1997.  So, Democrats voted for Federal DOMA and state DOMA.  But, I thought they loved and respected gay people so much.  They don’t.  They are frauds.

I take you down memory lane for this reason.  I knew if the marriage amendment went down, the DFL would turn and scurry from it.  Not just because they’re gutless wonders.  But, because if gays get marriage, their franchise over the community expires.

Gays could escape the Democratic Party plantation.

I live in south Minneapolis, and until recently, I walked among progressives and Democrats and listened to their words and thoughts about gay marriage like a secret agent.  They are all for it, in theory.  But they wouldn’t do anything to press the issue if it might harm their ability to rob the productive sector and give money to their cronies.  These people talk a big game, but it is only their avarice for power and prestige that drives them.  This is why I wasn’t at all surprised by this:

“For Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, who has said he’ll seek to become majority leader, a fight over marriage is not a top priority.

“I think anybody that has policy ideas need to find a way to put them on the back shelf right now. This state has serious financial challenges,” Bakk said at the news conference.

House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, who is in line to become House speaker, said it’s too soon to set off in a new direction for marriage.

Asked whether he would sign a bill legalizing gay marriage, [DFL Governor] Dayton demurred. “We just had an election yesterday,” he said. “I think it’s time for everybody to catch their breath.”

So, following a big rejection and a huge campaign to persuade Minnesotans that same sex couples should have “the freedom to marry for ALL Minnesotans,”  the DFL is gonna punt?  What about the DFL leaders who are gay?  Aren’t they outraged over this betrayal?

“But Dibble, who is gay and served on the committee that put same-sex marriage into the national Democratic Party platform, also is urging caution.

“I think we need to just pause for a second and really understand what this victory yesterday means,” he said. “I don’t know if we’re going to immediately proceed to an effort to repeal Minnesota’s DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) law, but I do know that we are going to continue to take a look at having this discussion.”

Huh?  Would any other group who had successfully launched a campaign and won be shoved aside like this?  Of course not.  It’s absolutely laughable to ignore a sizable defeat of the amendment and wait for the momentum to die down.  What are they waiting for?

Even Democratic lawmakers who strongly back gay marriage rights said there are risks if the party is seen as pushing it too quickly at the Capitol.

Rep. Phyllis Kahn of Minneapolis, who has co-sponsored Marty’s bills to legalize gay marriage, said it runs the risk of alienating moderate and swing voters who think politicians are too fixated on social issues.

“One of the arguments we continually used against the Republicans is they were focusing on social issues and not economic ones,” Kahn said. Still, she said, “It’s something we have to do eventually.”

They are waiting to be forced.  These DFLer’s aren’t going to just let gays and lesbians wander away from The Party.  They find the gay community to be a ready supply of volunteers and campaign cash not to mention votes and a nice straw man argument against Republicans.  They can’t lose that, and so gay people are once again patted on the head and told to quietly sit in the corner.  It is doubtful the GLBT Democrats in this state will have the cojones to take on the DFL leadership.

Meanwhile, the Big Gay Farce will continue.



Contact Your Politicians
Governor Mark Dayton
Phone: (651) 201-3400
Email: (Web Contact Form)

Senator Tom Bakk
Phone: (651) 296-8881
Email: [email protected]

Representative Paul Thissen
Phone: (651) 296-5375
Email: [email protected]

Representative Erin Murphy
Phone: (651) 296-5496
Email:  [email protected]

See also:
“The DFL’s Big Gay Farce” from Issue 457, November 29, 2012
“Three of Four Top Elected Minnesota Politicians Comment on the Marriage Debate” from Issue 458, December 13, 2012
“‘Earnest Money:’ Repeal DOMA Now” from Issue 458, December 13, 2012
“Why We Can’t Wait” an Interview with Sen. John Marty from Issue 460, January 10, 2013
Waiting for Superman” from Issue 460, January 10, 2013

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  1. wendy gaskill on December 3, 2012 at 11:21 am

    I am so disapointed at Lavender’s posting of this piece. The alliances buildt in this recent election, the taking back of the legislature was so encouraging. Last week it was all about thanking our allies, now this week, LET’S SLAP THEM IN THE FACE.

    There is more to life than gay marriage. DFL wants to build a long term majority in the legislature that will ensure Minnesota will stay the liberal state it has been and can be again. I am confident gay marriage will be in place before the end of this decade.

  2. Brett Stevens on December 3, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    I’m sorry you got that from my account. I just believe the past history of DFL action and the current attitude isn’t conducive to changes in the law. I believe in accountability of our officials. Their past isn’t rosy. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Jeff on December 4, 2012 at 10:29 am

    A LOT has changed since the DFL of 1997 fwiw.

    I don’t think it’s necessarily fair to hold their stances towards same sex marriage 15 years ago and to try and say the current DFL are exactly the same.

    Also, what other major parties are even willing to be open to the dialog?

    What I gathered from your piece, is you think that gays will jump the DFL ship? To where? You can’t honestly be insinuating that they will side with the GOP?

    What many don’t realize, is even many Democrats, are still slowly coming around on the issue of gay marriage. From friends and family I spoke to, many voted No moreso because they didn’t feel putting a ban in the MN constitution was right, not exactly that they want to pass full marriage equality laws just yet.

    There’s building on momentum, and there’s rushing things… You don’t get a second shot at a first impression, so I say take the necessary time and actions needed to ensure a victory.

  4. Patrick RichardsFink on December 5, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    I’ve been telling people not to celebrate yet, because we didn’t win anything. All we did was not lose. Now, it was, indeed, important that we not lose. But the scorched-earth tactics of the Vote No campaign have negatively affected the queer community, politically effective tactics that worked but were designed to produce a short-term goal rather than build a lasting coalition. The hesitancy expressed by the DFL to move forward shows the flaws in being reactive rather than proactive.

  5. Ruth on January 27, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    Just reread this article and we’ve discussed it Brett. I don’t know why you’re so anti-DFL…”a bitter, disjointed DFL was using this issue to regain control”…etc. 🙂 1. DFL did not put this issue on the ballot. Where is your hatred towards the Republican party? 2. This article was written well before the new members were in the house/senate. Deep breaths…politics doesn’t move that fast. Appreciate your writings anyway! 🙂

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