Despite an unsettled governor's race,
gay marriage foes in Minnesota are heartened by a GOP takeover in the
While gay marriage was a real issue in
the race between Democrat Mark Dayton and his Republican rival, Tom
Emmer, opponents of the institution have turned their focus to
statewide elections as a sign that voters will support a ballot
question on placing a gay marriage ban in the state's constitution.
Dayton's razor thin lead has triggered
a recount, now set to begin on November 29, the Minnesota Secretary
of State said Friday.
Social conservatives, however, are
already claiming victory.
Tom Prichard, president of the
Christian-based Minnesota Family Council, told the AP on Thursday
that this group will lobby for the question to be on the 2012 ballot.
Prichard said that last week's election
turned the tables on gay marriage backers.
Senator Warren Limmer, the likely new
chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, suggested he's in favor
of the effort.
“The statement I'll make is that
there's a keen interest by a majority of the members of both chambers
to define marriage, and to allow the public to do so,” the
Gay marriage appeared to define the
race for the governor's mansion. During the campaign, contributions
by Minnesota-based retail giant Target and electronics retailer Best
Buy to MN Forward, an independent political fund supporting Emmer, an
opponent of gay rights, including marriage, created a firestorm of
protest from progressive and gay activists. Target,
which had previously groomed a gay friendly image, was hit with a
actions by Target, Best Buy and 3M, which also contributed to MN
Forward, resulted in a drop in their rankings on the 2011 Corporate
Equality Index, a measure of a company's support for
gay-inclusive policies. The annual survey is compiled by the Human
Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest gay rights advocate.
The National Organization for Marriage
(NOM), the nation's most vociferous opponent of gay marriage, had
invested heavily in the state, vowing to eighty-six all lawmakers
backing plans by openly gay state Senator Scott Dibble to push in
2011 for Minnesota to become the next state to legislatively legalize
“Our efforts highlighting Mark
Dayton's support of same-sex marriage played a big role here,”
Brian Brown, president of NOM, said in a statement. “But in
another historic victory, Republicans have taken both houses of the
Minnesota Legislature. Same-sex marriage will not pass this
legislature. And we are now positioned to get a vote on a
constitutional amendment protecting marriage. This is huge.”
Should Dayton, a supporter of marriage
equality, prevail in his bid to become governor, he would be
powerless to stop the question from going to voters. Under Minnesota
law, constitutional referendums are solely the domain of the