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Why the DFL should push for marriage equality immediately

by Joe Bodell on November 11, 2012 · 6 comments

The DFL should push for full marriage equality, along the lines of my proposed legislation, immediately. Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s good politics as well.

I was going to start this post by reviewing MPR’s list of DFL legislators who represent districts where the marriage amendment was supported by a majority, but frankly, the presentation of that information is designed to foster weakness and failure among legislators who are rightfully concerned, in part, with keeping their newly won seats.

Instead, let’s focus for a moment on MPP alum Tony Petrangelo’s analysis of correlations between different races:

By isolating the suburbs what becomes clear is that it wasn’t the Marriage amendment that caused so many seats to flip. The variance in the Marriage amendment vote only explains about 10% of the variance in the legislative vote.

The variance in the Presidential vote however, explains 80% of the variance in suburban votes for the Minnesota legislature.

It wasn’t the Marriage amendment that delivered suburban Minnesota to the DFL, it was the presence of Barack Obama at the top of the ticket that did it.

You got all that? The single biggest variable driving DFL turnout and performance in this election, from the State House all the way up to the amendments, was the presence of Barack Obama at the top of the ticket.

Supporting a legislative drive for full marriage equality would be a great way to ensure that those Obama votes don’t fall off from 2012 to 2016 as they did from 2008 to 2010, and give legislators even in those “marriage amendment yes-vote majority” districts a way to drive their bases to the polls in the next midterm election. It would essentially turn the issue on its head — instead of a discriminatory amendment driving conservative votes, forward-looking legislation would drive progressive votes to the polls in big numbers.

Good policy meets good politics. It’s a win-win.

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