By Chris Huqueriza
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has petitioned to state lawmakers to legalize same-sex marriage in his annual State of the State address.
“Let me mention one other cause, which is controversial, but consistent with my faith and my principles. And, more importantly, consistent with this country’s founding principles and its Constitution. I believe that every Minnesotan should have the freedom to marry legally the person she or he loves, whether of the same or other sex,” said the Democratic governor.
A constitutional proposal on banning same-sex marriage was rejected by the state voters with a 52.9 percent poll in November 2012.
Dayton continued his address and stated: “Last year, Minnesotans began a conversation about why marriage matters, and we found our common belief that it is about love, commitment, and responsibility. I want Minnesota to be a state, which affirms that freedom for one means freedom for everyone, and where no one is told it is illegal to marry the person you love.”
The aftermath of his address has gained encouragement from several supporters.
“It shows his willingness to lead on this issue, and spend some political capital,” said State Sen. Scott Dibble (D-Minneapolis). “I think it gives (wavering) legislators space as they make their decisions to do the right thing.”
Dibble added that Dayton’s position on same-sex marriage might sway the tide on the decision. The leading advocates of marriage equality, the Minnesotans United for All Families, have also emailed other same-sex supporters to thank Dayton “for his strong leadership in securing the freedom to marry in 2013.”
However, Dayton has also received criticism from same-sex marriage opponents referring the governor “out of touch.”
According to Spokeswoman Autumn Leva for Minnesota for Marriage, she said: “Minnesotans inherently understand that marriage is more than a government love license. Authentic marriage is really about a personal promise with a public purpose that benefits everyone, especially kids, parents and our state’s economy.”
The Governor’s support for marriage equality coincides with Minnesota Council Member Gary Schliff campaigning to be Minneapolis’ first openly gay major.
To read more about Schliff’s campaign to be the first gay mayor here.