Families For Minnesota
Straight talk about the Minnesota Marriage Amendment
In November 2012, Minnesotans were asked to amend the MN State Constitution to ban marriage for same-sex couples. Family Equality Council was pleased to be a member of the Minnesotans United for All Families Coalition, the official campaign that ultimately defeated the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. MN United was founded on a strong belief in the power of our families and in the message of love, commitment and community.
What is the Minnesota Marriage Amendment?
- Minnesota Marriage Amendment Defined: SF 1308 was a bill passed by the Minnesota State Legislature that sought to deny the freedom to marry for all Minnesotans by amending the state constitution to define marriage as only between “one man and one woman.” The amendment was placed on the November 2012 ballot, where it needed a simple majority of votes to become part of the Minnesota State Constitution.
- The Constitutional Amendment Was Unnecessary: Same-sex marriage was already prohibited by Minnesota law. The state legislature passed a law in 1997 limiting marriage to one man and one woman. Amending the MN state constitution to ban same-sex marriages was unnecessary and a waste of resources. Amending the state constitution would have done nothing to change the current state of the law in MN. Same-sex couples remain unable to marry in MN today despite the failure of the amendment to pass in November 2012.
- Governor Disapproval: On May 25, 2011, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton wrote a letter to the President of the Minnesota State Senate condemning SF 1308. Governor Dayton further expressed his disapproval of the measure when he symbolically vetoed the bill.
Now is the time to change Minnesota law to allow same-sex couples to marry.
- MN is home to thousands of same-sex couples and their families: According to the 2010 Census, there are more than 13,700 same-sex couples living in MN. Of these couples, at least 2,370 are raising approximately 4,740 children in the state. If the marriage amendment passes, it would write discrimination into the MN constitution, effectively telling these children that their families are not valued, respected or protected.
- Continuing to deny same-sex couples in MN the freedom to marry leaves families vulnerable: There are approximately four hundred state benefits available to married couples in MN. A state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage denies these families access to all of these protections including certain legal rights afforded married parents, access to healthcare, bereavement and sick leave, and the ability to make medical and other decisions on behalf of their loved ones. Same-sex couples are also denied a number of economic benefits and protections, precipitating a poverty rate for same-sex couples that is notably higher than the national average. Without access to marriage, committed, loving same-sex couples are left without the basic protections that other married couples take for granted.
- Marriage equality makes good business sense: MN currently faces a $5 billion deficit and will need to find ways to improve the competitiveness of the state’s economy. The ability to recruit and retain the best and brightest employees is critical to MN’s economic stability and growth. A highly public, divisive and discriminatory ballot measure sends the message that not all employee groups are welcome in MN – and will present challenges in attracting the best employees.
- Marriage equality is good for the economy: States with marriage equality have discovered these couples’ nuptials generate hundreds of new jobs and tens of millions of dollars annually in spending and tax revenue. A Forbes study projects a $16 billion growth in the wedding industry if the freedom to marry for same-sex couples was available nationwide.
Public Opinion Is On Our Side.
A majority of Minnesotans support same-sex marriage. The constitutional amendment was defeated Current polls show that 55% of Minnesotans oppose a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, while only 39% favor amending the constitution