Wednesday, February 28, 2007

No "fear mongering," benefits bill slippery slope towards same-sex marriage

By Chuck Darrell

The "incremental approach" towards same-sex marriage.

"The reform toward gay marriage should continue incrementally and with a strong preference that it moves legislatively." Prof. Dale Carpenter, University of Minnesota School of Law

A new bill (SF 960) has been introduced in both houses that would allow local government to extend benefits to same-sex couples. Sounds harmless until the bill is placed in the broader perspective of achieving same-sex marriage via incremental steps in the state legislature.

After suffering a series of stinging defeats last July, supporters of same-sex marriage changed their tactics from constitutional lawsuits to smaller, incremental gains in state legislatures. SF 960, is a perfect example of this incremental approach. In fact, the bill is one of nine legislative proposals being pushed by OutFront Minnesota this legislative session.

The question is: Will passing this bill, and/or all of OutFront's legislative proposals, bring any closure to the same-sex marriage debate? The answer is a resounding no!

States that have compromised by legalizing domestic partnerships or civil unions for same-sex couples have learned "There can be no compromise..." until full marriage is achieved. This bait-and-switch scheme is currently raging in CT, VT and New Jersey.

Legislators, and the people of Minnesota need to understand that this bill, and the OufFront agenda, is not compromise. Instead of closure, passage will put same-sex marriage supporters one step closer to achieving same-sex marriage - exactly what many legislators say they oppose.

This is why Minnesota needs a marriage amendment, and why MFC will be going into the districts of the bill sponsors and educating their constituents about the intent behind this agenda.

Just as "civil union" is marriage by another name, "incremental step" is the slippery slope towards same-sex marriage.

Last session many legislators said they supported traditional marriage - but opposed a marriage amendment. Now we call upon them to demonstrate that support by withdrawing support for SF 950 and HF 1097, and the broader strategy of obtaining same-sex marriage through incremental legislation.