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The Minnesota Senate convenes at noon Central Time (1 P.M. Eastern, 10 A.M. Pacific) today to take up HF 1054, the bill the Minnesota House passed last Thursday, a bill that would enact civil marriage equality statewide. Democratic Governor Mark Dayton has promised to sign it (probably tomorrow!), making Minnesota the first state that's more than 90 miles from an ocean to enact marriage equality legislatively.

Join us as we watch the Senate debate the bill and—if conventional wisdom is to be believed—pass it easily.

We'll also try to keep tabs on press reports from outside the Senate chamber, where the State Capitol is likely to be packed with activists both pro-equality and anti-.

[BTW, this is a re-post of the original liveblog, after that one slid down the Recent Diaries list with the session about to begin.]

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Okay, folks—with ten minutes or so until the session starts, I think I'm going to have to try to repost this. Hang on and re-rec if you can. Thanks!

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As most Kossacks know, marriage equality is before the U.S. Supreme Court today (and tomorrow); today's case is the challenge to California's anti-gay Proposition 8. Press accounts have described several different decisions that the Court could reach in the case; one common sentiment goes like this (here, in the words of Robert Barnes' WaPo primer this morning):

A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled for the couples [challenging Prop 8] more narrowly. It said that once California had extended the right to marry — about 18,000 same-sex couples wed before Prop 8 was approved — it could not be withdrawn.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s affirmation of that decision would limit the impact to California.

I'm writing this diary because that final sentence--though you can find a version of it in just about every discussion of Prop 8 in front of the Supremes--is wrong. Flat wrong. An affirmation of the Ninth Circuit decision would absolutely not "limit the impact to California."

An explanation why is after the jump.

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Last night, as you know already, we in Minnesota became the first state to successfully vote down an anti-gay-marriage ballot amendment at the polls. (We also voted for Barack Obama and Amy Klobuchar, but both of those were widely predicted and thus a little less exciting. Ousting one-term Congressman Chip Cravaack (R-Doofus) was more of a charge, and we also got thisclose (alas!) to bouncing Michele Bachmann.)

But indications today are that gay rights took an even bigger step in this state last night than just the "FU Homophobes" result on the marriage ballot question. We might not have to be jealous of those fabulous celebrants in Maine, Maryland, and Washington State (to say nothing of Massachusetts, Connecticut, our neighbor Iowa, and several others) for too much longer....

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Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 11:13 AM PDT

Voter Rights Win in MN Federal Court

by Rieux

Courts in Minnesota, like those in several other states, are currently considering a number of lawsuits stemming from right-wing attempts to keep as many young, poor, disabled, and/or ethnic-minority Americans as possible from casting votes in the 2012 election.

Today a federal judge in Minnesota issued a welcome decision (PDF) dismissing a lawsuit filed by the right-wing Minnesota Voters Alliance and Minnesota Freedom Council that sought to strangle, if not simply eliminate, Minnesota's popular election-day registration ("EDR") system.

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If you haven't been following the minutiae of the impending Minnesota gubernatorial recount closely, this may go over your head, but: the Minnesota Supreme Court has denied trailing candidate Tom Emmer (R)'s petition to complicate and prolong the recount process by forcing local election officials to mount a process called "reconciliation."

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Wed Nov 03, 2010 at 01:16 PM PDT

Potential Disaster in Minnesota

by Rieux

As many of us who were watching Minnesota election results closely last night know, Democrat Mark Dayton appears to have eked out a slim win over freaky Republican Tom Emmer in Minnesota's gubernatorial race. Echoing the Franken/Coleman slugfest of two years ago, however, it appears that this race is headed for a recount, too: with all precincts now counted, Dayton leads by 8,854 votes, or 0.42% of the total cast. That's within than the 0.5% threshold that will trigger an inevitable recount. (Note that three weeks of canvassing and error-correcting still lie between us and the certified results.)

Dayton will almost certainly win the governorship—but in the end, Democrats (and indeed Minnesota) seem frighteningly likely to lose much more.

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Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 11:11 AM PDT

Atheist Digest '10: Glossary

by Rieux

Any self-respecting atheist diary series needs a "What do the words mean?" article, and this year it falls to me to write it.

What is an "atheist"? What's an "agnostic"? Why are non-believers so adamant about these words and what they do or don't mean? These are the kinds of issues that need to be hashed out at the beginning of any in-depth discussion of non-believers and our ideas. The idea is to head off a number of disputes that constantly bedevil public discussion of atheism and related concepts; the disputes in question are based on common misconceptions regarding what "atheism," among related terms, even means.

So, if you're tempted to respond to any diary in this series by pointing out, say, that atheism requires just as much of a "leap of faith" as belief in God does, please read this diary first. It is very likely that you are operating from an understanding of the term "atheism" that conflicts severely with the widespread consensus, among self-declared atheists, regarding what that term means. At the very least, you need to be aware of that conflict.

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By now surely you've seen multiple diaries bringing the sad news that California's Proposition 8 has been upheld in a 6-1 decision of the California Supreme Court. That the 18,000 same-sex marriages that took place before Prop 8 passed were also allowed to stand is, unfortunately, small comfort. I know I'm one of thousands of Kossacks who will be working and donating to the fight to overturn Prop 8 at the ballot box as soon as legally practicable.

But to the extent that we're discussing the legal ins and outs of today's decision, I think Justice Carlos Moreno's dissenting opinion deserves some attention. Those--including several legitimate supporters of GLBT rights--who argue that today's decision was correct on the law would do well to review Justice Moreno's dissent.

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You know those silly "Security Check" things Facebook makes you do periodically, when you're commenting or adding friends or other things, to make sure you're not a 'Net-cruising robot?

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The election contest court adjudicating Norm Coleman's challenge to the 2008 Minnesota Senate election has finished and published its order (32 pages, almost half of it exhibits) this afternoon. It calls for up to 400 absentee ballots to be opened and counted on April 7 and otherwise dismisses all of the parties' legal arguments that are specifically relevant to absentee ballots.

Last I looked, there's still nothing on the official court website. I'm told it should be posted at that site as soon as the clerk gets it, though.

Nef, in comments below, says The Uptake has the PDF of the Order (same thing I'm reading) up on the web at http://old.theuptake.org/... . I think (s)he's right.

I put this up as I was reading, so it's a little bit discombobulated; sorry.

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Scholars compiling 2008 edition of the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) have just publicized some of their numbers--and they show an American populace that is rapidly becoming more secular, less Christian, and less theistic.

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