Thursday, January 31, 2013

Getting out ahead of it

I've been thinking a little more about what I wrote yesterday regarding the MN DFL not moving ahead with legalizing gay marriage, despite having complete control of Minnesota government. Part of the problem for the Democrats is if the issue were resolved they would no longer have it as a cudgel to use against Republicans during a campaign. Another theory I have is legalization of gay marriage would unwittingly turn same-sex couples into fiscal conservatives given they would suddenly be confronted with the same everyday issues heterosexual married couples endure (e.g. household expenses, daycare costs for kids, retirement planning, etc.).

To me, it's inevitable that gay marriage will one day be the law of the land. Yes, I still oppose it on religious grounds and will continue to make my case accordingly (I do fully embrace civil unions, which grants the same rights afforded to married couples). But since this issue is being presented to the current generation as a civil rights issue in the motif of overcoming the segregation of blacks and whites in the 1960s, I feel it's only a matter of time until it's the law.

So if that truly is the case, what should be done? Simple. Have a Republican legislator introduce a bill to repeal the current MN state law which declares same-sex marriage illegal. In May 2011, there were four GOP House members who voted "No" on allowing the MN Marriage amendment to be on the ballot this past November. But since the Republicans had a solid majority in both the House and Senate, they still had more than enough votes to pass the measure.

So who should be the brave soul to come forward?

Of the four Republicans who voted "no," three are no longer serving in the MN Legislature. The one who remains, Rep. Tim Kelly of Red Wing, easily won reelection in November. That means his constituents did not hold his "no" vote against him. With that in mind, I say Rep. Kelly should remind DFLers of their accusations of Republicans attempting to quash the rights of a certain group of people. Heck, Kelly himself used the words "discrimination and prejudice" when referring to the marriage amendment in a speech on the House floor in May 2011.

Since the DFL controls both the Executive and Legislative branches of government, this may be the one wildcard Republicans have in their favor. That is put the DFL on the record by introducing a bill repealing the current state law banning gay marriage. After all, only the Democrats can stop such a measure from getting out of committee and being brought to the floor for a vote. And if the Legislature passes the bill, Gov. Dayton has already made a pledge he would sign it. There should be no hesitation in scheduling the signing ceremony once the bill arrives at his desk. And once it is signed and gay weddings commence, Rep. Kelly (again, a Republican) can be lauded as the person who had the fortitude to step forward and start the process of granting homosexuals their "civil rights."

So with that pathway cleared, Rep. Kelly and the rest of the MN Republicans can convey to all the same-sex newlyweds how the DFL is hot after their wallets. After all, finances will quickly become a very important issue (if not the most important) when gay people are free to marry whomever they choose.


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