Same-sex marriage foes say voters feel 'betrayed'

Same-sex marriage demonstrators
Supporters and opponents of Minnesota's same-sex marriage bill demonstrate on the State Capitol in May. The bill became law, and same-sex marriage became legal on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013.
AP Photo/Jim Mone

One of the groups that opposed same-sex marriage in Minnesota announced Thursday morning that it intends to continue the fight. Minnesota for Marriage plans to concentrate on supporting state legislators who opposed the new law and working to defeat legislators who voted for it.

John Helmberger, chairman of Minnesota for Marriage and CEO of the Minnesota Family Council, said the campaign "will serve as a resource to Minnesotans who want to see a pro-marriage majority restored in the Minnesota House." The campaign is calling itself the Marriage Majority Initiative.

Autumn Leva, spokeswoman for Minnesota for Marriage, told The Daily Circuit's Tom Weber that Minnesotans who favor traditional marriage feel "betrayed" by the Legislature's decision to allow same-sex marriage in the state.

"This is a response to the over 1.4 million Minnesotans who are asking, 'What's next? What can we do? What's the next step?'" she said. "Because as you know, people's deeply held convictions about what marriage is don't change just because the Legislature decided to change that definition. You've still got these millions of folks who believe that marriage is only the union of one man and one woman, and basically resent the fact that the Legislature forced this new definition on them, looking for something they can do, some way they can be involved to make a change.

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"And this is a good first step: looking to replace those representatives who, in their mind, betrayed them, and restoring that pro-marriage majority in the Minnesota House."

House members must run for reelection in 2014. State senators do not face reelection until 2016. Leva said her group "will be taking a look at the Senate in 2016 as well. The House is definitely the first step, though."

The priority, she suggested, will be districts that strongly supported traditional marriage, where legislators "chose instead to side with the same-sex marriage lobby."

"We'll be supporting current incumbents as well, folks who took a vote to support traditional marriage despite facing strong political pressure to do otherwise," Leva said.

Minnesotans United for All Families, the main group that worked to legalize same-sex marriage, is running a similar effort to support legislators who backed its position.

Weber asked whether the Marriage Majority Initiative's ultimate goal might be to repeal the marriage law. Leva said that was a question "that is really ahead of itself. The first step is to have the Legislature reflect the values of the state. And right now it currently doesn't.

"We've got folks around the state, particularly in the outstate districts, who are upset about this. They feel betrayed by their legislators. And the first thing to do is get them better representation."

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