Friday, November 6, 2009

Will homosexual marriage be a big wedge issue in the 2010 Minnesota Governor's race? Let's hope so.

It's interesting that all DFL candidates for governor in Minnesota have staked out a position more liberal than the majority of voters in Maine. They support homosexual marriage.

Eric Black in a MinnPost column entitled, "All DFL guv candidates back gay marriage: A wedge issue in the making?" points out the uniformity of DFL candidates for governor in favor of homosexual marriage. And as the title points out, this could be a wedge issue in the governor's race. My response is: I certainly hope so.

The unanimity of DFL gubernatorial candidates on the issue points out the influence homosexual activists have on the DFL party and apparently none of the candidates have moral sensibilities on the nature of marriage being between a man and a woman. And if they do or did, they've certainly been submerged by political ambition. They realize they can't be the DFL candidate for governor if they don't toe the line on homosexual marriage.

Some are more outspoken on this than others.
Some of the Dem candidates bring this up even in their brief two- or three-minute summaries of what they will do as governor. Former state Rep. Matt Entenza features prominently in the "issues" section of his campaign website that he co-authored the first bill that would have "redefined the legal definition of marriage to explicitly include two persons of the same gender." Others don't bring it up unless asked. But when asked, all say they will sign a same-sex marriage bill, although I gather the most current term for the idea is "marriage equality" (which is not an unreasonable term, but certainly has the whiff of the political Marketing Department about it).

None of the Republican gubernatorial candidates favor legalizing same-sex marriage.

In other words, leaving aside for the moment the Independence Party nominee (there are still no publicly known candidates from that party), the 2010 election will offer Minnesotans a fairly clear choice on, among other issues, gay marriage.

This story is all about movement, specifically movement on the political thinkability of gay marriage. If it seems intuitively obvious that the DFL would nominate a gay marriage advocate for governor, allow me to point out that it is unprecedented. With one possible exception, no major-party nominee for governor of Minnesota has ever been four-square for legalizing same-sex marriage.

The possible exception is state Sen. John Marty, who was the DFL nominee in 1994 and who is running for the nomination again this year (and who says that he expects to sign marriage equality into law within about three years). Marty says he has favored full equality for gays for many years, and did so in 1994, but doesn't recall whether his published positions that year included explicit reference to marriage....

Black interviews DFL state Senator Tom Bakk from the Iron Range who says he now supports homosexual marriage but believes economic issues will be the key ones in the upcoming election.

I think economic issues will be key in lots of people's minds, but marriage will be important to many people as well.

I would argue the two are intimately related. Unless we have strong marriages we won't have a strong economy. The family is the foundation of our economic system. If families are breaking up that ultimately leaves our economy vulnerable. So it's short sighted, at best, to think it's just about the economy and ignore what's happening to marriage and families. Homosexual marriage is an arrow pointed right at the heart of the institution of marriage in our society.

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