“It’s as if they put this whole thing on steroids,” one well-seasoned Minnesota political hand said to another. The occasion was a funeral. The whispered topic in the pew near mine was same-sex marriage and the defeat of a constitutional amendment to forbid it. I leaned to listen.
“That amendment is going to go down as one of the great political blunders in this state’s history,” said the other. “Minnesota wouldn’t be close to legalizing gay marriage today if it weren’t for the people who opposed gay marriage trying to ban it in the Constitution.” A mostly cogent analysis, thought I as the organ’s peals brought the exchange to an end.
Historians are bound to describe the GOP amendment gambit of 2011-12 as political folly. Voters not only rejected both the marriage amendment and its ballot companion, a constitutional requirement that citizens show a government-issued photo ID card before being allowed to vote, they also spurned enough of the amendment’s legislative patrons to put DFLers back in charge at the Capitol. They appeared to buy the DFL argument that the Republicans had reached too deeply into their own partisan bag of tricks.
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