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In Minnesota, President Obama’s campaign opposes anti-gay amendment that denies “rights and benefits to same sex couples”

Marriage equality

By Scottie Thomaston

The president’s campaign for re-election is coming out in opposition to an attempt to put an anti-gay marriage amendment in Minnesota’s constitution, in what looks to be the administration’s new approach to discussing anti-gay ballot initiatives. Using language much like the statement released by the Obama campaign in opposition to Amendment 1 in North Carolina – and much stronger than previous statements referencing “divisive and discriminatory” laws but not addressing gays and lesbians – the campaign says:

“While the President does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the record is clear that the President has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same sex couples,” said Kristen Sosanie, spokeswoman for the Obama for America – Minnesota campaign. “That’s what the Minnesota ballot initiative would do – it would single out and discriminate against committed gay and lesbian couples – and that’s why the President does not support it.”

As in North Carolina, state law in Minnesota already makes it illegal for gay and lesbian couples who are in love to be able to marry each other. The amendment is another in a long line of superfluous, animus-based attacks on gay and lesbian families meant to reclassify them as less valid than heterosexual relationships.

It’s good to see the administration address the problem with these amendments head on. The problem was never that laws or amendments of this sort are “divisive” or vaguely discriminate – they’re targeted at viciously attacking gay and lesbian families by placing in state constitutions the idea that one form of relationship and one sexual orientation is the only valid kind, and anyone else is inferior.

And the fact that the campaign has to keep noting that they can’t weigh in on every one of these initiatives says a lot in itself. This year the gay and lesbian community is fighting back against efforts to ban legal recognition of our relationships in some states and fighting to affirm them in other states. Even after releasing statements on North Carolina and Minnesota, there are still efforts in Maine and Maryland and Washington and New Jersey underway. When one law passes to affirm gay and lesbian relationships it always follows with immediate efforts to undermine the new law. It’s a concerted, long-term effort to deny gays and lesbians legal and societal acceptance and recognition.


  • 1. Sagesse  |  April 9, 2012 at 11:26 am


  • 2. bayareajohn  |  April 9, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    "As in North Carolina, state law in Minnesota already makes it illegal for gay and lesbian couples who are in love to be able to marry each other."

    Odd that lawmakers would specify that being in love is required before marriage is prohibited…
    (A gentle jest, but a reminder that words mean what they say… and they get quoted… and that matters.)

  • 3. Bill S.  |  April 10, 2012 at 7:26 am

    Prop8TrialTracker must stop using the word "illegal" to describe gay marriage. Marrying, or attempting to marry, someone of the same sex carries no criminal or civil penalties anywhere in the United States. "Illegal" is simply incorrect terminology. You can say that a state does not recognize same-sex marriage, or is barred by law from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples (such anti-gay marriage laws regulate how the *state* must function, not the people applying for the license), but it is inaccurate to say it is "illegal" for gay couples to get married.

  • 4. bayareajohn  |  April 10, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    I think conventional English says it is accurate. Five dictionaries I've checked say similarly:
    il·le·gal [ih-lee-guhl] – adjective
    1. forbidden by law or statute.
    2. contrary to or forbidden by official rules, regulations, etc.: The referee ruled that it was an illegal forward pass.

    You say "barred by law" is substantively different from "contrary to or forbidden by law"?
    It's not just accurate, it's precise.

  • 5. Bill S.  |  April 11, 2012 at 3:18 am

    I did jump the gun a bit. The article says "As in North Carolina, state law in Minnesota already makes it illegal for gay and lesbian couples who are in love to be able to marry each other." This is accurate becaues of the "to be able to." It would be inaccurate to say "It is illegal for gay and lesbian couples to marry each other" (although grammar note: the couples are not marrying each other, the people within the couples are :-P).

    It is illegal for the *state* to issue such marriages, but it is not illegal for the *people* to enter into, or to try to enter into, such marriages. If the State of Minnesota issued a mariage license to a same-sex couple, it wouldn't be the same-sex couple in violation of the law, but rather the state.

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