Minnesota Gay Marriage: Equality's Success Is Michele Bachmann's Failure


On Monday, Rep. Michelle Bachmann’s (R-Minn.) efforts to deny same-sex couples in Minnesota equal protection under the law failed. The Minnesota Senate voted 37-30 to legalize gay marriage.

After the vote was announced, Bachmann tweeted "I’m proud to have introduced the original traditional marriage amendment, and I thank all Minnesotans who have worked so hard on this issue."

The Minnesota Senate passed the bill just four days after the House voted 75-59 in favor of the legislation and only six months after Minnesota became the second state to reject a statewide constitutional ban by popular vote. Democratic Governor Mark Dayton signed the bill into law Tuesday evening in St. Paul.

Minnesota becomes the 12th state to legalize same-sex marriage, the third state this month and the sixth state in the past six months. On May 2 and 7, Rhode Island and Delaware became the 10th and 11th states respectively to legalize same-sex marriage.

Although 30 states have adopted constitutional provisions limiting marriage to a man and a woman, the 12 states that support same-sex marriage represent a growing and undeniable trend that bodes well for the future of gay marriage in America.

PolicyMic pundit Ned Flaherty, Project Manager for Marriage Equality USA, predicts that the second wave of states adapting same-sex civil marriage will do so by the end of 2014. “The next 12 states where legalization is underway are known, and the order in which they're finishing is now predictable,” he explained.

After Maine, Maryland, and Washington became the first states to legalize same-sex marriage through popular vote in the November 2012 election, Flaherty noted that “what used to average over 26 months per state is now averaging just eight weeks each.”

As a Minnesota state senator, Bachmann attempted to fast track a bill containing a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage through the state senate. The bill died in committee.

Bachmann once remarked, "Every American citizen has the right to avail themselves to marriage but they have to follow what the laws are. And the laws are you marry a person of the opposite sex."

Now that her efforts have failed, the LGBT community in Minnesota will turn its attention to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court is expected to render its decision on the Defense of Marriage Act this summer. During oral arguments the justices openly questioned whether now was the time for the courts to pass judgment on such a monumental social issue. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg issued a cautionary note that the court should not make the mistake of “moving too far too fast” as it had done with abortion. Justice Kennedy famously noted that the court was in “uncharted water.”

But with the passing of same-sex marriage legislation in Rhode Island, Delaware, and now Minnesota, those waters are being mapped out in the direction of fair and equal treatment of same-sex couples throughout the land.