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Kiffmeyer: MN Same-Sex Marriage Bill Betrays Vow that 'Nothing Would Change'

Minnesota state Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, who represents St. Michael-Albertville, recalled promise that 'no' votes on constitutional amendment to ban marriage wouldn't lead to legalization.

Minnesota state Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer (R-Big Lake), who represents St. Michael-Albertville, argued against passage of same-sex marriage legislation on the floor of the Minnesota Senate Monday.

Kiffmeyer took the Senate floor after two Republican-sponsored amendments failed to pass, which she described as "First Amendment changes being rebuffed."

Kiffmeyer said introduction of the gay marriage bill went back on promises made to voters in the 2012 ballot referendum on amending the Minnesota Constitution to ban same-sex unions.

"They were told it was OK to vote no because nothing would change," Kiffmeyer said. "Do they feel betrayed? Absolutely. Do they feel lied to? Yes. ... So here we are today with a massive change."

Kiffmeyer referenced an earlier speaker, Sen. Jeff Haydon (DFL-Minneapolis), who told gay-marriage oppponents, "It's going to be OK."

She paraphrased Haydon: "It's OK. It'll all be OK."

But, she said, "in every other state [with gay marriage] we have not seen that to be the case. ... I'm voting no because of the lack of First Amendment protection [for those who believe defining marriage as] one man, one woman [couples] with the capacity for having children is the best public policy."

Patch-The-Luck May 13, 2013 at 09:04 PM
How does this in any way show a lack of First Amendment protection? You can still practice your beliefs. A religion can refuse to honor unions to same sex couples. This is on a state level, not a personal one. This will in NO WAY ruin anyones liberties or freedom of religion. What a bigot. I'm ashamed to have her representing my town, especially one with a moderately sized same-sex community.
1anthropos May 13, 2013 at 10:00 PM
And yet there are existing law suits in several states against business owners who don't believe that same-sex marriage is morally right and refuse to provide their services to same-sex couples. Senator Kiffmeyer is absolutely correct and it will only be a matter of time before our 1st amendment rights are ignored if we oppose same-sex marriage. However, the double standard prevails as those who believe same-sex marriage is their right will have no problem shoving their opinions down the throats of anyone who doesn't agree with them. It is a sad day in Minnesota.
hilltopuniv May 13, 2013 at 11:46 PM
Great day for MN and proud to be Minnesotan. Kiffmeyer needs to check her facts regarding the "deterioation" of other states that have passed gay marriage laws. Embarrassed that she represents and speaks for my community and hometown. No one's first amendment rights are violated as those who are morally opposed will not be forced to marry someone of the same sex, attend a gay wedding, or have their business participate in gay marriages if they choose not too. Furthermore, being gay is not an opinion so it can't be shoved down anyone's throat.
George Banter May 14, 2013 at 02:41 PM
Wrong, hilltopuniv. Businesses WILL be forced to participate by way of lawsuits against them if they choose to exercise their rights to religious freedom and first amendment. I've posed this question to several gay friends but no one can answer: why must we change the 2000 year definition of 'marriage' and spend an inordinate amount of time and money (with priority over passing a budget) on 2-3% of our population? Most gay people I know celebrate their diversity and want nothing less than to be like heterosexual married couples--so why is this necessary? Why not have a civil union that celebrates the gay population and upholds that diversity?
hilltopuniv May 14, 2013 at 06:53 PM
because Mr.Banter than gay people will always be less and not equal.
mike savick May 15, 2013 at 04:43 AM
Yes it is a good day in Minnesota. Civil unions failed to provide equal protection as required by the 14th Amendment and failed in the states that tried it. They have all gone to marriage. If you chose to have a public business, and many have the state provided privilege and protection of incorporation, than you must treat all fairly. You can't have white only and colored fountains etc. Separate but equal is not equal and that matter has already been adjudicated. 2-3% of the population are just as important under the law as 97%. Conservatives started the fire with the amendments and CDs. That backfired and the positive backlash meant a DFL Majority and affirmation of equal marriage rights. The KOCH Brothers and friends strategy to harvest votes from conservatives failed and you don't get a do over because the election was legally binding. Time to be graceful.
Michael Hindin May 17, 2013 at 03:16 PM
Sorry Sen. Kiffmeyer, but the voters changed, as they learned that our gay friends, neighbors, coworkers, etc. have the same needs. Citizens have the right to petition the government anytime and the new legislature was willing to listen. Republicans contributed to clarifying the language. You and you backers lit the fire and you burned yourself. Playing with political matches is dangerous. Have the grace to accept the change and work for all Minnesotans.
Michael Hindin May 17, 2013 at 03:19 PM
Actually nothing changed in your life Sen. Kiffmeyer. Affirming marriage equality didn't change yours. You could of course celebrate the positive effect on business that additional marriages will bring, You are supposedly a pro business party.
Dan Johnson May 19, 2013 at 08:05 PM
As mike points out, separate can never be equal. Science and the courts have recognized that different treatment harms those denied equality, resulting stigmatization and dehumanization as worth less. As he also notes, using your religious belief to justify denial of equal treatment by business open to the public, resulted in segregation in the past. Your desire to use the law to impose your religious belief in a way that harms others, is not a legally supported position, even if you can find scripture to justify ignoring and contradicting the Golden Rule.
Dan Johnson May 19, 2013 at 08:16 PM
George. Your question relies on a false premise. Marriage has taken many forms over the years in addition to the 8 forms found in the bible. Our "tradition" of marriage would have to include inter-racial prohibitions, and treating women and children as property. Same sex marriages have also been an overlooked if not outright denied part of history as well. Allowing same sex marriages equal treatment under the laws currently in effect for opposite sex couples, does not change the current or future marriages of opposite sex couples. The "what" of marriage is not redefined. Only the "who" is changed to allow everyone to participate under the same laws, as promised in the founding documents and required by the constitution.
Dan Johnson May 19, 2013 at 08:29 PM
Allowing business owners to discriminate in their clients, resulted in segregation, apartheid, and abuse of other minorities as well. We know from history, allowing discrimination is a harmful practice.
CHDaggett May 19, 2013 at 09:10 PM
Let's not forget - Kiffmeyer used to be Sec. of State in Minnesota - and used that office to attempt to restrict voting rights. So glad she's not in that office any longer. I just can't see any way that allowing businesses to exclude serving some customers based on their personal biases/beliefs is anything other than outright discrimination. We don't allow that based on any other factor - thank goodness we're moving towards a society that won't allow it on this one either.
Dan Johnson May 20, 2013 at 02:50 PM
Even before marriage passed, business owners were not allowed to use their religious beliefs to discriminate based on sexual orientation. They are asking for special laws that would allow them to pick and choose who they serve, based on their beliefs. This is the same excuse that gave us segregation and apartheid. They now want a gay apartheid. If you decide to serve the public, you must serve everyone. A couple who wanted to hold a wedding ceremony even before the law, could rent a space offered to the public, hire a photographer, caterer, and buy a wedding cake. The law does not allow you to discriminate. The marriage law did not change that. Public accommodations laws covering race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, disability, status with regard to public assistance, sexual orientation, and age were already in effect: "Subd. 2.Civil right. The opportunity to obtain employment, housing, and other real estate, and full and equal utilization of public accommodations, public services, and educational institutions without such discrimination as is prohibited by this chapter is hereby recognized as and declared to be a civil right." https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=363a.02
Philip Lowe, Jr. May 20, 2013 at 03:24 PM
Um, No, No Senator Kiffmeyer what you said in the debate is not true. The message of Minnesotan's United for All Families was "Don't limit the freedom to marry." In many of the advertisements from MN United they said that they were not going to deny the freedom to marry to same-sex couples by writing into the State Constitution and therefore leaving the door open for us to change the MN State Statute. That is what was accomplished with the vote in favor or granting the freedom to marry for same-sex couples last week, which Governor Dayton signed into law. That is what MN United for All Families was about, that is what 53% of Minnesota voters voted for in November 2012.

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