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The Minnesota Senate yesterday voted 38-27 to put a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman on the ballot in 2012. Every Republican in the Senate voted in lockstep, while a lone Democrat, a Senator LeRoy Stumpf, also voted in favor.

Insofar as it seems that the pundits agree that passage by the Assembly is all but guaranteed, there will be a vote on this measure in Minnesota in November of 2012.

I say "Bring It On."

The homophobes have finally made a tactical mistake. They won in California; they won in Maine; they terrorized the legislatures of Maryland and Rhode Island (and likely soon do the same in New York) into not even voting.  

But they already have a law on the books banning same-sex marriage in Minnesota -- now they've gotten greedy and have seriously overreached.

Why do I think that?

This isn't 2004 any more...

Eight years of huge social changes in attitudes towards gays and lesbians will have passed by 2012. People just aren't into constitutional amendments to ban marriage equality these days. The time of Karl Rove whipping people into a frenzy over this has passed. As far back as two years ago only a third of Minnesotans saw a need for a constitutional amendment:

Star-Tribune  May 1, 2009  1042 adults

  No change in current law banning same-sex marriage: 34%
  Constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage needed: 33%
  Legalize same-sex marriage: 25%

Even in Indiana, a more conservative state than Minnesota, a plurality do not support a similar constitutional amendment (43% in favor, 47% opposed).

It seems to me more likely that those opposed to this amendment will be 'whipped into a frenzy', more motivated to go out and vote because of this than those in favor of it.

The good guys get votes by default!

In order to amend the Minnesota Constitution, an absolute majority of all those who vote on election day -- not just a majority of those who vote on the ballot initiative -- must vote for the amendment.  That means anyone who leaves the ballot initiative blank is effectively a 'No' vote.

How much might this affect the results?  In California in 2008 2.48% of the ballots cast in the election did not have a vote for or against Proposition 8. Had those votes been counted as 'No', Proposition 8 would have still won, but by somewhat less than half the margin it ended up winning by. If the California result is any indication, 'No' in Minnesota could be starting out with about a 2.5% advantage.  That's nothing to sneeze at.

You don't have to be for same-sex marriage to vote against this amendment:

It makes no sense for someone who favors marriage equality to vote for the amendment, but the reverse is not true and will happen.

In a poll taken in October of last year, 41% of likely Minnesota voters said they favored same-sex marriage, while 49% were against it.  The demographics of likely voters is going to shift towards younger and more liberal in 2012 versus what it was in 2010.  And public opinion continues to shift in favor of marriage equality.  

By the time November, 2012 rolls around, it seems conservative to assume that this 41%-49% split from 2010 might reduce to 43%-47%.

A 43%-47% spread mean that only about 4% of those who do not favor same-sex marriage would have to be willing to vote against this constitutional amendment to turn the tide. A 4% drift seems, might I say again, conservative. The fact that there is already a law in place in Minnesota banning same-sex marriages is a good argument against enhrining this in the Minnesota Constitution. Coupled with the advantage of blank ballots being treated as 'No' votes there should be little question which side will win this referendum.

Oops?:

I suspect that as soon as some serious polling is done on this issue after the amendment is irrevocably placed on the ballot, Republicans are going to wish for their votes back. A lot of Minnesotans are not going to be happy about having such a contentious issue on the ballot, and not a single Minnesotan newspaper (to my knowledge) has endorsed the amendment.

This will be the first, but not the last, time that voters in statewide referenda will vote against the bigots, not with them. They will not longer be able to claim that they have the people's support.

Maybe it's wrong to vote on other people's rights (or maybe it's not), but the homophobes have removed any choice in the matter in Minnesota.

I could be proved terribly wrong, but I look forward to reveling in their defeat. As Lieutenant Worf might say: "It will be glorious."

(Disclaimer: Predicting the future is hard. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. Leave it to the professionals who get it wrong just as often, if not more so, as the average yokel. The author strong advises you not to risk your entire net worth betting on Intrade (or anywhere else) against this amendment passing. Past performance is not a predictor of the future.  All that is gold does not glitter.  A stitch in time saves nine Einsteins. The Secretary disavows any knowledge of this essay.)

Originally posted to jpmassar on Thu May 12, 2011 at 08:30 AM PDT.

Also republished by Angry Gays, Milk Men And Women, and SFKossacks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Seems a surefire way to motivate the Dem base. (7+ / 0-)

    And in a presidential election year, when turnout is huge. Did they mean to do that?

    I can just about forgive the Brits for starting our revolutionary war and burning DC to the ground during the war of 1812 for giving us Led Zeppelin.

    by Pager on Thu May 12, 2011 at 08:37:49 AM PDT

    •  It'll motivate the GOP base even more. (8+ / 0-)

      This issue consistantly seems to get more people on the anti- as compared to the pro- side riled up and eager to vote.

      One should no more deplore homosexuality than left-handedness. ~Towards a Quaker View of Sex, 1964 (Proud left-handed queer here!) SSP: wmlawman

      by AUBoy2007 on Thu May 12, 2011 at 08:41:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  As I said (8+ / 0-)

        this isn't 2004 any more.  Or 2008, or 2009.

        You might be right, but when you look at all the signs of social change (e.g., King & Spalding, the hockey dude, lots of people coming out against bullying, etc, etc), the times really are changing.

        •  Except we still see signs (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jpmassar, bythesea, EdSF

          (see MD and RI for example) that our side is just not as motivated by this issue.

          It makes a certain amount of sense.  The number of people who are actually affected plus the number of people who are not affected, but are still strongly for marriage equality (so much so that they'll volunteer, donate, etc) is smaller than the number of people who are passionately against.  Is this changing?  Yes.  But I've seen no evidence that the change has already occurred (to the point where it will impact voting patterns enough to provide us a victory).

          One should no more deplore homosexuality than left-handedness. ~Towards a Quaker View of Sex, 1964 (Proud left-handed queer here!) SSP: wmlawman

          by AUBoy2007 on Thu May 12, 2011 at 08:56:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Difference is in 'voting patterns' vs motivation (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AUBoy2007, FogCityJohn

            In MD and RI NOM et all were able to whip a small number of people (relative to the state population) into a frenzy; enough to inundate legislators' offices and scare them.  And I agree; for whatever reason, the LGBT community is not capable of doing this.

            But that is a different ballgame from getting a majority at the voting booth; in that contest it is no longer clear who has the upper hand (in places where there is likely to be a contest).

  •  Those are some bold words, jp. (7+ / 0-)

    Wish I could join the sentiment.  Sadly, I am afraid that once again the scaremongers will win out.  We still have not come up with an effective counterattack.

    One should no more deplore homosexuality than left-handedness. ~Towards a Quaker View of Sex, 1964 (Proud left-handed queer here!) SSP: wmlawman

    by AUBoy2007 on Thu May 12, 2011 at 08:37:58 AM PDT

  •  I think you're right. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jpmassar, jayden, Pager, bythesea, psychodrew

    Times have changed. It's really hard to demonize the nice gay couple down the block with their pretty kids and pleasant dog.

    Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

    by MBNYC on Thu May 12, 2011 at 08:37:59 AM PDT

  •  I don't know, (10+ / 0-)

    I don't trust the 35% that say leave it to the courts. I worry they will all vote no.

    But, I guess it doesn't much matter. It's a done deal. Our community will spend time, money and resources to stop straight people from writing discrimination into the Constitution of the state.

    That marriage equality opposition is led primarily by Clergy is a confirmation present law is the establishment of religion.

    by Scott Wooledge on Thu May 12, 2011 at 08:39:28 AM PDT

    •  Ya gotta give 'em hope (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jayden, bythesea
    •  34% said the law shouldn't be changed. (0+ / 0-)

      Not that it should be left to the courts.

      Or is this a different poll than I cited?

      •  See, when I read this: (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AUBoy2007, bythesea, EdSF
        No change in current law banning same-sex marriage: 34%
          Constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage needed: 33%
          Legalize same-sex marriage: 25%

        I am seeing 67% want no gay marriage. "Not changing the law" is status quo, no gay marriage.

        Faced with amending the Constitution, they will be in the abstract, voting "yes" or "no" on gay marriage. Those who spend some time thinking about it, will know that voting "no" leaves the door open to Court Fiat. They're probably more inclined to close it.

        I don't think our opinions much matter. It appears there's no heading off the fight. It's coming whether you and I agree whether we'll win.

        That marriage equality opposition is led primarily by Clergy is a confirmation present law is the establishment of religion.

        by Scott Wooledge on Thu May 12, 2011 at 08:54:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But we know that this cannot be true. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AUBoy2007, bythesea
          I am seeing 67% want no gay marriage.

          It's simply not possible that if 50% of the country is in favor of same-sex marriage that only 33% of Minnesotans are (no matter how weird you might think the average Lake Wobegon resident is).

          The wording of the question, as we know, is very important.

          It is important to evaluate whether there's a good shot at winning this or not.  If there is, a lot of resources should be devoted to insuring that it does get defeated by as large a margin as possible.  That will be a shot heard 'round the country.

          If a stark evaluation shows that it would be very difficult to defeat (which I doubt but it's possible) then resources might better be allocated elsewhere.

  •  AGAIN, some bigots put civil-rights (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jpmassar, bythesea

    to the mere tyranny of the majority.  Ugh.

    So he says to me, do you wanna be a BAD boy? And I say YEAH baby YEAH! Surf's up space ponies! I'm makin' gravy WITHOUT THE LUMPS! HAAA-ha-ha-ha!!!

    by Cenobyte on Thu May 12, 2011 at 08:46:15 AM PDT

  •  Nate Silver at 538.com (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jpmassar

    built a statistical model a couple of years ago to predict when states would vote down a gay marriage bill. He predicted that Minnesota would be ready to do so in 2013. I tried to replicate it, but I couldn't find all of the variables he used.

    I'm gay and I'm pissed. I'm not giving up, I'm not giving in, I'm not backing down, and I'm not going away. I'm one of the Angry Gays. Deal with it.

    by psychodrew on Thu May 12, 2011 at 09:27:43 AM PDT

    •  Here's a couple I've found under my desk: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AUBoy2007

      X
      Epsilon
      Foo

      (heh)

    •  From the essay (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      psychodrew
      Alternatively, there could be a paradigmatic shift in favor of permitting gay marriage, which might make these projections too conservative.

      Overall, however, marriage bans appear unlikely to be an electoral winner for very much longer, and soon the opposite may prove to be true.

    •  The interesting thing is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      psychodrew

      that there hasn't been any new data (in terms of actual votes on marriage bans) since he did that.

      So in one sense the model is still as valid as it ever was, but in another sense attitudes (which aren't really part of the model) have changed.

      •  We also haven't had many ballot initiatives (0+ / 0-)

        since then. Only one in Maine, IIRC. And he used the percentage of the vote as his DV.

        But I agree with what you quoted above, if we've reached a tipping point, then his model might be too conservative.

        I'm gay and I'm pissed. I'm not giving up, I'm not giving in, I'm not backing down, and I'm not going away. I'm one of the Angry Gays. Deal with it.

        by psychodrew on Thu May 12, 2011 at 09:44:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  inerrant amendment: use Matthew 22:24-28 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jpmassar

    and make it rather: "marriage as between one man and MANY women" to nullify all  state-sanctioned marriage so that civil unions remain the province of the state and marriage occurs in the context of ideological rituals

    I am a born-again Christian and a pastor who not only supports the Biblical teaching of polygamy but I also practice it.I have two wives and seven children so far....

    Before I present the verses from the New Testament that allow polygamy, I first would like to prove to you that Jesus peace be upon him did honor the laws of the Old Testament, and did order his followers (the Christians as we call them) to follow the laws of the Old Testament:

    Jesus said: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law (the Old Testament) or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke or a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law (the Old Testament) until everything is accomplished.  (Matthew 5:17-18)"

    Christians always say as an excuse "Oh this law doesn't exist in the New Testament, it is only the Old Testament."  Well, according to Matthew 5:17-18 above, we clearly see that Jesus honored the Old Testament, and forces Christians to follow the unmodified laws of it that have not been replaced by newer ones in the New Testament.  The Old Testament as we clearly see above does indeed allow polygamy without a shadow of a doubt !!.

    I am off my metas! Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above join the DAILY KOS UNIVERSITY "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03)

    by annieli on Thu May 12, 2011 at 09:40:54 AM PDT

  •  JP, don't be so sure about your ability to predict (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jpmassar

    the future!

    The Repubs will be motivated, too.

    And, if our side wins, what to we win?  Merely the status quo.

    Why don't people on OUR side put the bigots on the defensive with our own referendum?

    •  That might happen in California and/or Oregon. (0+ / 0-)

      It might not happen because

      a) people are scared of losing and don't want to exert effort and resources

      b) some people think it's wrong to pro-actively put initiatives on ballots voting on rights

  •  Even my orthodox friend (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jpmassar

    Plans to vote against it.

    This is someone who was glad they voted to defund Planned Parenthood.

  •  I certainly hope it does what you think. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angry marmot, Eddie L, slapshoe, jpmassar

    But you're missing what I think is a larger, far more important point:

    The recognition or removal of people's rights ought never be put up for a public vote.

    The fact that it's even on the ballot is an insult to basic human dignity.

    We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

    by raptavio on Thu May 12, 2011 at 09:55:02 AM PDT

    •  I'm not missing the larger point. (0+ / 0-)

      But so what?  It makes no difference whatsoever to the bigots that people's rights ought never be put up for a public vote.

      The are being and have been put up for a vote.  This idealistic viewpoint achieves nothing practical.

      •  Sure it does. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jpmassar

        Because when that "idealism" is made part of the national dialogue, the very act of bringing people's rights up for a vote will have political and social consequences on those who choose to do so.

        We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

        by raptavio on Thu May 12, 2011 at 11:12:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't believe there is any evidence to (0+ / 0-)

          support that.  

          The way the homophobes will be shut down is when a majority of the people shut them down.

          That or a long process of court cases.  

          Nothing suggests that I know of that trying to convince people that they shouldn't vote on other people's rights has any significant effect except to make those who tout it as epistle feel good.

  •  I wish I had your faith (0+ / 0-)

    Unfortunately, I suspect that, when the rubber hits the road, it will become a constitutional amendment.  The hatred of OTHER is too strong everywhere in America.  As you say, a law is already on the books, and noone in MI has any interested in removing the law.  As of right now in MI the step from there to an amendment seems a smaller one than doing something fair like repealing the law.

    Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

    by lostboyjim on Thu May 12, 2011 at 06:10:12 PM PDT

  •  I think that 41-49 should shift much further (0+ / 0-)

    If that was from a likely voter poll in October 2010, it was from a much more conservative sample than the 2012 election will almost certainly draw to the polls.

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