Gay marriage still a concern for many Minnesota Republicans

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With the rest of the country moving on, Minnesota Republicans are still concerned about gay marriage.

At the Republican State Convention on May 30 and 31, Republican activists met to endorse candidates for state and federal offices, and the issue of gay marriage reared its head several times over the weekend — most often in attacks against other candidates.

Tweets from the convention told much of the story:

Senate Candidate Chris Dahlberg mentioned marriage as between one man and one woman in one of his convention speeches. He lost the endorsement to Mike McFadden.

Senate candidate Juliane Ortman took heat because she once told a group of Log Cabin Republicans that she supported marriage equality. Opponents tried to paint her as supportive of LGBT rights.

She dispelled that by sending out literature at the convention noting that she voted for the marriage amendment 15 times.

Warren Limmer, the lead author of the anti-gay marriage amendment and prime opponent of marriage equality went to Ortman’s defense.

Gary Borgendale, a Jim Abeler supporter released an anti-gay hit piece during the convention.

Between candidate endorsements, activists were debating the party’s platform. The current party platform contains several anti-LGBT planks:

Defend the Definition of Marriage
We believe that marriage is between one man and one woman, and that the U.S. Constitution and the Minnesota Constitution should be amended to this effect. We oppose civil unions or their legal equivalents between same-sex couples and, therefore, domestic partner benefits should not be publicly funded.

We believe that K-12 public school teachers should not initiate discussion, teach lessons, or provide resources to students on the topic of family structure, human sexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, or transgenderism.

We should maintain the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and the 1993 law banning open homosexuals from serving in the military.

As resolutions were passed by the local party units, they were incorprated by the platorm committee into a recommended platform. The activists at the convention then had a chance to debate them or remove them.

One such resolution included called for the Minnesota Legsialture to repeal the gay amrriage law passed in 2013. One activist called on convention goers to remove that plank and leave it for debate later in the convention.

But his efforts were defeated by the majority of activists.

The convention goers also debated a plank that targeted the Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act which includes protections for LGBT students.

One convention goer even stated, “I don’t think we need any anti-bullying laws,” which elicited a round of applause.

Republican Party activists eventually decided not to approve the platform instead opting to form a committee to review after activists complained it was too long.

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