Groups clash over lawmakers who supported same-sex marriage

In a clash of political advocacy groups, Minnesota NOW is criticizing the Minnesotans United PAC for its support of 11 legislators who voted this year to legalize same-sex marriage in the state.

A news release from Minnesota NOW President Sarah Jane Johnston said that her organization contributed significant resources to the marriage equality effort and was disappointed with the Minnesotans United PAC screening of candidates on that issue alone.

"They will be providing funding to several legislators who have a history of voting for anti-choice legislation," Johnston wrote.  "We are truly saddened that the Minnesotans United PAC does not have our back when we need them."

The list of legislators in the news release includes six Democrats and five Republicans. They are state Reps. Roger Erickson, DFL-Baudette; Tim Faust, DFL Hinkley; David FitzSimmons, R-Albertville; Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington; Andrea Kieffer, R-Woodbury; Jenifer Loon, R-Eden Prairie; Paul Marquart, DFL-Dilworth; Jay McNamar, DFL-Elbow Lake; Joe Radinovich, DFL-Crosby; John Ward, DFL-Brainerd and state Sen. Branden Petersen, R-Andover.

The Minnesotans United PAC began raising money earlier this summer for the lawmakers it dubbed "The Minnesota 15." That group also includes state Reps. Tom Anzelc, DFL-Balsam Township; Andrew Falk, DFL-Murdock; John Persell, DFL-Bemidji and Shannon Savick, DFL-Wells.

Ann Kaner-Roth, a co-chair of the Minnesotans United PAC, had little to say in response to the criticism. She stressed that the effort has always been about a single issue.

"We've been very transparent about our strategy, which is to support legislators who voted in favor of marriage for same-sex couples," Kaner-Roth said. "We have been laser-focused on that goal."

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