Gov. Mark Dayton told opponents of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage that he would do everything possible to defeat the measure on the ballot in 2012. Dayton spoke Monday night at the first official fundraiser for Minnesotans United for All Families, a coalition of groups that oppose the amendment. The event also featured John Taft, CEO of RBC Wealth Management, a self-described Republican who said he intends to rally Minnesota’s CEOs against the amendment on the basis that it’s bad for business.
“You are on the vanguard, and you have moved this cause forward with amazing speed,” Dayton told the crowd. “The wave of history is with you.”
Dayton vowed that he’ll do “everything I can” to defeat the amendment and said it “violates every moral principle in my being. It is just wrong, and it’s un-Minnesotan.”
“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness should certainly mean the right to marry the man or woman of your choice,” he said. “It will be defeated, as it should be.”
Dayton was joined by St. Louis Park DFL Rep. Steve Simon, whose testimony in opposition to the amendment earlier this year earned him praise among amendment opponents and garnered more than 500,000 views on YouTube and derision from religious right figures.
Also attending the event were Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak and Minneapolis City Council members Gary Schiff, Betsy Hodges and Robert Lilligren.
RBC Wealth Management’s Taft, who is also chairman the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, has Republicanism in his blood. He’s the great grandson of President William Howard Taft and grandson of renowned Republican Sen. Robert Taft, a conservative leader nicknamed “Mr. Republican.”
He spoke of the responsibility Minnesota’s largest employers have in defeating the amendment.
“My role is to mobilize the business community and engage other CEOs who I know from talking to them feel the exact same way about this amendment — that it is bad for business in the state of Minnesota.”
He said that Minnesota already has two knocks against it in attracting talented employees: “bad weather and high taxes.”
After Dayton left, he said, “The governor’s not here, but [if he was] I would have pulled my punch and said the perception of high taxes.”
He added, “Why would you want to hang a ‘You are not welcome sign’ at a time when the state is recovering from the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009? Defeat this amendment, this anti-jobs and anti-competitive amendment. And I’m going to do everything I can to help you do that.”