Having turned back an anti-equality constitutional amendment, Minnesota marriage equality activists gathered Saturday to discuss their next move, including the possibility of introducing a marriage bill in the state legislature as early as January.
“We have a Democratic House, Senate and governor,” said Ruth Larson, a participant in the Equality and Justice Summit in Minneapolis, according to Minnesota Public Radio. “Strike while the iron’s hot.”
Another attendee, Democratic state representative Alice Hausman, said that since work on the state’s budget has to wait for revenue forecasts, due in February, lawmakers should consider marriage equality legislation in January.
“Some people say, ‘Well, that means we get off track of the budget.’ And we shouldn’t have other issues dominate,” Hausman said. “But if we don’t deal with this immediately, I would argue it’s going to dominate anyway because it hangs out there.”
Not all party members and activists agreed that the time is right. “We’re not close enough to win unless we move some legislators to make what for them might be a challenging decision,” said activist Michelle Dibblee. “To do that they need to hear from constituents, and for those legislators to hear from constituents, we need to continue to organize. What we’ll be doing over the course of the next six months is helping you all to connect more deeply in your communities, particularly in those places where we think there are legislators who need constituent pressure to be moved.”
In November, Minnesota voters rejected a state constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage. This made Minnesota only the second state to do so, after Arizona in 2006, but voters there approved an amendment two years later.