Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, told weekend political talk show hosts that a bill to legalize same-sex marriage will likely appear next week. Some politicos expect the bill to eventually pass and become law, others are more reserved on its prospects.
In an interview Sunday morning with WCCO’s Esme Murphy, Dibble said he’ll likely be offering the bill this week.
“Most likely this week. We are just kinda getting everything buttoned up,” Dibble said.
Murphy asked, “Do you have enough votes to pass this?”
“Well, I think we are pretty close. I have not done a hard-nosed count,” he said. “My strong sense is that, even for folks in Greater Minnesota, they are comfortable with this. It’s not really that controversial at the end of the day. It’s a very simple prospect.”
On TPT’s Almanac on Friday night, Mary Lahammer interviewed the key players behind the marriage issue.
“Is Minnesota ready to legalize same-sex marriage?” she asked Sen. Dibble.
“Yes. I think the answer to that is very clearly yes.”
Dibble said the bill would be introdiced “in probably about a week.”
“A few republicans have approched me indicating a willingness to vote for this,” Dibble said.
House Majority Leader Paul Thissen was asked during a press conference about the bill.
“We support the bill. No question about that,” but added, “I’m not going to guarantee that the bill will pass this year. That I do not know.”
Political watchers aren’t convinced that it has the votes. Hamline University political science Prof. David Schultz spoke with Esme Murphy on Saturday night on WCCO radio.
“I don’t think the Democrats have the votes to pass it at this point on a straight party line vote,” he said. “I can’t imagine there is a single Republican in the Legislature right now that would cross party lines.” He added that the only Republican that supported gay marriage, former Rep. John Kriesel, did not run for reelection.
He added, “Some people argue that were it not for the opposition to the marriage amendment, some Democrats would not have been elected in some very close races, therefore they need to push it.”
But Schultz said, “I’m not convinced the Democrats are going to move on it this year.”
But if it did pass, “Cleary once gay marriage is legal in this state it will be virtually impossible to close that door.”
He added that the US Supreme Court taking up the challenge to DOMA in March could give Democrats some cover to delay the issue.
On his blog, Schultz made the case that legalizing gay marriage could be good for Minnesota’s economy.
“Legalizing gay marriage in Minnesota and across the country is ethically correct thing to do,” he wrote. “Were Minnesota to legalize gay marriage the economy would benefit both in direct and indirect ways.”
Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, has been a champion of marriage equality for years. He wrote on his blog that he thinks the bill will pass:
I am confident that we will pass marriage equality legislation this session. Some would rather that we postpone the issue for a few years, but justice requires that we provide equality for LGBT families, and that we do so now.
Human rights for any minority should never be subject to popular opinion. Even so, the legislators who believed it should be determined by a statewide vote, got their way. And they lost.
We will pass legislation allowing all Minnesotans to marry the person they love – not because the majority rejected the amendment last fall – but because it is the right thing to do. The point here is that the opponents can no longer claim to have strong backing from the public.
The conversation about marriage equality that began last year in communities around the state helped build understanding of the value of all families. Passing legislation to allow marriage for all couples will not stop this conversation. Year after year, Minnesotans will continue gaining understanding and respect for those who are different from us.
Now, we can act. This year, we will finally give all Minnesotans the freedom to marry the person they love. And that’s a beautiful thing.