Gottwalt: campaign against marriage amendment effective, but erroneous

State Rep. Steve Gottwalt
Republican State Representative Steve Gottwalt sponsored the House version of the marriage amendment. "Marriage is one unique thing and it's ok to say that without disrespecting anybody else," he said.
MPR Photo/Conrad Wilson

The Minnesota House sponsor of the proposed constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage said the campaign against the measure was effective but erroneous.

GOP Rep. Steve Gottwalt of St. Cloud said there was a fair amount of vilification of people who supported the proposal to recognize only the union of a man and a woman as a marriage. He said amendment opponents were effective at promoting the message that a "no" vote was an expression of caring and concern.

"That this is, you know, just about a couple people loving each other, and that those who might support the marriage amendment were really motivated by discrimination and hatred and bigotry, and all those things and I think that was wrong-minded," Gottwalt said.

Even so, Gottwalt acknowledges the message influenced the outcome of the vote.

"And I think because they were effective in selling that message, that was, I think, what motivated a lot of people to vote either against or for the amendment," Gottwalt said.

But he said supporting the amendment is not equivalent to bigotry.

"As I've said many times ... we can love and respect our GLBT sisters and brothers and stand up for marriage between a man and a woman."

DFL legislative leaders say making same-sex marriage legal won't be a priority in the next legislative session. But Gottwalt predicts there will be a push to repeal the ban that's in current law.

"They're going to receive a fair amount of pressure I think to enact same sex marriage in Minnesota. And it will be up to them to decide," Gottwalt said. "I think they're going to face maybe some of the same pressures that our side faced when we were in the majority from people who felt that it was important to in fact more permanently reinforce the traditional definition of marriage being between one man and one woman."

Gottwalt said it's clear from the election results that Minnesotans don't want the man-woman definition of marriage in the constitution right now.

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