Scott Honour, Jeff Johnson
Republicans in Minnesota Say They Won't Try Overturning Marriage Law

By Lucas Grindley

Originally published on Advocate.com May 16 2013 12:12 PM ET

The two Republican candidates for governor in Minnesota say they won't try to overturn the state's new marriage equality law, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

Democratic governor Mark Dayton signed the bill this week and is up for reelection in 2014. So far, he faces Hennepin County commissioner Jeff Johnson and Orono businessman Scott Honour. Both told MPR there are more important issues, though neither supports marriage equality.

"I think Minnesotans are ready to talk about something other than gay marriage for a change," Johnson told MPR. The state has been actively debating the issue for a long while, having turned back a ballot measure in 2012 that would have banned same-sex marriages in the state constitution.

Johnson said in his email to MPR, "I would not push to repeal the new law, although if something landed on my desk supporting traditional marriage I would sign it."

A spokesman for Honour dismissed the notion that a repeal of the bill is possible because the current makeup of the Senate ensures it is solidly in favor for the foreseeable future. The spokesman said, "Political symbolism will not be a prominent feature of Scott's time as governor."

Minnesota Republicans have not lined up in lock step against marriage equality. Former Republican representative Lynne Osterman teared up as she testified before the House and said her vote to ban same-sex marriages while in office was a mistake. A prominent adviser the to the state's former Republican governor Tim Pawlenty penned an op-ed calling on the GOP to embrace marriage equality. And votes in both the House and Senate included Republicans.

In a letter sent today to the Minnesotans United for Marriage's email list, Dayton applauded the lawmakers who helped ensure that same-sex couples can begin marrying August 1.

"Last week, I suggested that legislators read John F Kennedy's book: Profiles in Courage. Instead, they wrote its latest chapter," he said. "By their political courage, they joined that pantheon of exceptional leaders who did something extraordinary — they changed the course of history for our state and our nation."