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Bigots organize to stop anti-bullying bill

by The Big E on January 8, 2014 · 0 comments

bullying-stop-signDFL majorities in both the Minnesota House and Senate are poised to pass the Safe and Supportive Schools Act aka the anti-bullying bill. Currently, MN has some of the vaguest, weakest anti-bullying statutes in the nation. It’s time to make our schools safe for LGBT kids from bullying.
But the bigots aren’t going to take it lying down (or in any other position). They characterize the bill as “child exploitation:

“Children are following the pied piper of perversion,” says Barb Anderson, the leader of a group opposed to Minnesota’s anti-bullying bill.
The Minnesota Child Protection League is steadfastly against the Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act, a bill poised to pass the Minnesota Legislature in 2014. The bill’s advocates say it would strengthen the state’s anti-bullying laws so why is a group with “child protection” in the name opposed to stronger anti-bullying laws? Because the group is composed of conservative Christian activists opposed to LGBT rights.
Founded in August 2013 and led by Barb Anderson and members of Education Liberty Watch, the group has been touring the state at churches and Tea Party meetings, giving a presentation that is factually suspect and contains false stereotypes about LGBT people. At these meetings, they are rubbing elbows with Republican officials and candidates.

Andy Birkey details who’s who in this effort to keep LGBT students suffering. EdWatch, Michele Bachmann’s old group, is a big part as well as the Anoka nutjobs who have worked tirelessly to make sure the Anoka-Hennepin school district is a miserable place for the bullied.


Public Policy Polling is out with (what I think is) the final round of results from their May poll: Governor Dayton’s approval rating is still hovering near 50%, the DFL in the Legislature is, while unpopular, a whole lot better-looking than their GOP counterparts, and Minnesotans appear to be coming down on the DFL side on most issues.


Money quote:


“Mark Dayton’s approval numbers have declined over the course of this legislative session,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “But he still looks like a pretty clear favorite over any of the Republicans contemplating the race.”


Voters support the legalization of same-sex marriage by a 49%-45% margin. Only 46% approve of the job DFL legislators are doing to 49% who disapprove. Minnesotans dislike Republican legislators even more, at 23% positive to 59% negative. The DFL leads the Republicans on the general legislative ballot by 47% to 41%.


Minnesotans favor paying back the school shift as soon as possible by a margin of 50% to 13%. However, 44% think not raising taxes is more important than quickly paying back the school shift. 50% of Minnesota voters oppose allowing in-home child care providers to unionize, to only 31% who support letting them do so. A majority, 54%, support raising the minimum wage to $9.50 per hour, compared to 37% who are against that proposal.


The care provider unionization vote effort has always been a touchy issue, with lots of cross-cutting concerns. It’s doubtful that it’s going to be a major campaign issue come October 2014, though. More important are going to be the DFL’s efforts on education (all-day kindergarten funding), economic opportunity (raising the minimum wage — ARE YOU LISTENING, SENATE LEADERSHIP?), and marriage equality, all of which are supported by fairly huge majorities of voters in this poll.


Interestingly, check out those numbers on the school shift — 50-13 in favor of paying it back, but 44% say not raising taxes is more important than paying it back. On the original question, 47% of 2012 Romney voters said they weren’t sure, but on the second, that number dropped to just 12% while the “low taxes > school payback” number jumped to 71%.


…Meaning that this group of voters don’t know what the school shift is all about, but they just know that it can’t be more important than keeping taxes on the very richest Minnesotans low.


Full Equality is a Must

by Joe Bodell on February 28, 2013 · 0 comments

The marriage equality bill was officially unveiled yesterday, marking the beginning of what should be a pretty successful run of progressive lawmaking in St. Paul.   Naturally, the first thing that happened in response was a bunch of know-nothing bigots coming out of the woodwork to spread the same old tropes and mouthspew they’ve been spreading for years.


Dan Hall, a Republican from Glencoe Burnsville, for example. This is a guy who’s a clergyman in his life outside the Capitol, and thus probably has promised at least once not to lie or mislead or be mean, said he “will go to jail before I will ever perform a marriage to a homosexual.”   Good thing too, since the bill contains language designed to protect clergy from solemnizing marriages with which they disagree. That was a piece pushed in there by Republican Senator Branden Peterson, which makes perfect sense and absolutely in keeping with the spirit of the bill’s goal: to make marriage as a civil arrangement, with civil benefits and responsibilities, something which any law-abiding pair of citizens can achieve.


And then there’s Glenn Gruenhagen. Good thing we have such upstanding, charming people representing huge swaths of our state in our halls of power.


If you wanted to get married but the pastor you asked to perform the ceremony refused, would you really want to force the issue? Nevertheless, as protection from trolls goes, it’s fine, and obviously Mr. Hall cares more about the fact that TEH GAYZ will be able to kiss for the cameras than he does about the fact that he won’t be forced to smile in the background.


Several states have already achieved full equality through various means — the courts, ballot initiative, legislation are all moving in the direction of full equality. And lo and behold, the sky has not fallen, nor has anyone been turned into a pillar of salt. It’s high time Minnesota got on the right side of history. Let’s get this done — sign our petition, and let’s see how many voices we can add to the chorus.



Let me mention one other cause, which is controversial, but consistent with my faith and my principles.  And, more importantly, consistent with this country’s founding principles and its Constitution.  I believe that every Minnesotan should have the freedom to marry legally the person she or he loves, whether of the same or other sex.

Last year, Minnesotans began a conversation about why marriage matters, and we found our common belief that it is about love, commitment, and responsibility.  I want Minnesota to be a state, which affirms that freedom for one means freedom for everyone, and where no one is told it is illegal to marry the person you love.
(Mark Dayton, 2013 State of the State Address)

Everyone knew that Gov. Mark Dayton was going to address marriage equality during his State of the State address yesterday. He kept it simple and clear. He reiterated that he will sign the bill if it appears on his desk.

“I agree with the Governor’s assessment on this important issue at this historic event,” said Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Mpls). “Minnesotans spoke clearly last year about this issue and told us the values that unite us are more important than those that divide us-that marriage is about love, commitment and responsibility.”

“The state budget and our economy are the focus at the start of this session, as they should be,” continued Dibble. “There is also room at the right time to have this conversation, which, consistent with everything else the legislature is working on, is really all about helping families do well.”

So once the budget has moved past it’s initial stages, expect to see DFLers introduce marriage equality bills.


UK about to pass marriage equality law

by The Big E on February 6, 2013 · 0 comments

Let’s join France and the United Kingdom and pass a freedom to marry law here in Minnesota.

In the past few days, the freedom to marry has taken major steps abroad, with lawmakers in France and the United Kingdom casting key votes in favor of ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage.

Today, the British House of Commons voted overwhelmingly in favor of extending the freedom to marry to same-sex couples in the United Kingdom. After a full day of debate on The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, the House of Commons approved the bill by a vote of 400-175. The bill is poised for victory in the British House of Lords, and Prime Minister David Cameron has voiced his whole-hearted support for marriage consistently over the past year.
(Freedom to Marry)


Marriage equality roadmap

by The Big E on January 18, 2013 · 4 comments


As Minnesotans United for All Families gears up to lobby for marriage equality in the coming legislative session, we also learn what the opponents will argue.

But opponents of same-sex marriage are already lining up to defeat the legislation. John Helmberger, who is the CEO of the Minnesota Family Council and chairs Minnesota for Marriage, sent an e-mail to supporters today saying he doesn’t think there’s support to pass the amendment.

“First, understand that the defeat of the marriage amendment was not an endorsement of gay marriage,” Helmberger wrote. “Far from it. The amendment was defeated by a narrow margin. And, it passed in 75 out of 87 counties across Minnesota. That means that legislators did not receive a mandate from their constituents to redefine marriage.”

Congratulations to the Minnesotans for Marriage campaign! They won! And they’re going to remind the DFL legislators who campaigned for marriage equality that it was the gay-hating bigots that won in November. Great plan.

That’s the best you can come up with? Seriously?

Is your backup plan to roll out Bishop Nienstedt to threaten DFLers with eternal damnation?


Newt Gingrich now supports marriage equality

by The Big E on December 21, 2012 · 1 comment

After a week’s worth of horrible news, idiotic responses to the horrible news, news about horrible behavior and etc and etc, finally I can report something good — New Gingrich now supports the freedom to marry.

Gingrich, that staunch defender of traditional marriage [snicker], has finally seen the light:

On gay marriage, meanwhile, Gingrich argued that Republicans could no longer close their eyes to the course of public opinion. While he continued to profess a belief that marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman, he suggested that the party (and he himself) could accept a distinction between a “marriage in a church from a legal document issued by the state” — the latter being acceptable.

“I think that this will be much more difficult than immigration for conservatism to come to grips with,” he said, noting that the debate’s dynamics had changed after state referenda began resulting in the legalization of same-sex marriage. “It is in every family. It is in every community. The momentum is clearly now in the direction in finding some way to … accommodate and deal with reality. And the reality is going to be that in a number of American states — and it will be more after 2014 — gay relationships will be legal, period.”

Photo – CBS News

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Gov. Mark Dayton said today that he would sign a marriage equality bill if it appeared on his desk. Dayton campaigned against the anti-Marriage amendment. He knows how the amendments got the DFL base excited and what a huge opportunity we have to pass a marriage equality law.

When asked about legalizing same-sex marriage after Minnesotans defeated a constitutional amendment defining marriage as only between a man and a woman, Dayton said he would sign a bill if it comes to him. But he said he’s unsure if the Legislature is ready to consider the issue.

“I hope we’re going to get to that point. The younger generation is broadly accepting of that change and we’ll get there, it’s just a question of when,” he said.

I don’t think getting a marriage equality bill through the House will be a problem. I heard Speaker Paul Thissen speak at the Take Action Minnesota annual dinner last Friday and he spoke supportively about getting the bill through the House.

The only hindrance appears to be in the Minnesota Senate. Hopefully, Majority Leader Tom Bakk will come become more amenable and, at least, get out of the way of marriage equality.


Now that the 2012 election has been certified by the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office, the official results spreadsheet is available for we political wonks and geeks to dig through. And I did a little digging. I compiled a spreadsheet of Minneapolis results.

As the 2012 campaign got rolling, I was concerned that not all Minneapolis DFLers would vote against the two amendments. Like many Minneapolitans, I got involved in my local Senate District to do what I could to ensure Minneapolis voted NO.

So I was interested to see how strongly Minneapolis voted against the two constitutional amendments on the ballot. It turns out it was as resounding NO.

Amendment YES NO Blank Percentage
Anti-Marriage 47581 163771 4454 77.95%
Vote Restriction 44927 165216 5663 79.18%

Please note that non-votes counted against passing the amendment.

In my Senate District, SD62, 77.29% voted against the anti-Marriage amendment and 83.80% voted against the Vote Restriction amendment.

The Vote NO campaigns underperformed President Obama … but barely. Obama got 80.27% in Minneapolis.

Rep. Keith Ellison received 81.68%.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar did even better … 83.17% in Minneapolis.

Plaudits to MN United, Our Vote Our Future, the DFL Party, Rep. Ellison, Sen. Klobuchar and all the DFL legislative candidates for getting the word out.

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