Momentum for marriage equality in Minnesota grows

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A Valentines Day rally and a petition are the latest actions in the effort to pass marriage for same-sex couples at the Minnesota Legislature this session. In December, Minnesotans United for All Families, the main organization that worked to successfully defeat a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, announced it would be mobilizing its base to achieve marriage equality in the 2013 legislative session.

The group has launched a petition that has gathered 12,000 signatures and is planning a rally at the Minnesota Capitol during Freedom to Marry Day, Feb. 14.

The group will seek a strategy similar to the one that defeated the amendment: lots of people power and conversations. “Our strategy for securing the freedom to marry in Minnesota begins with re-creating that widespread excitement and energy… but this time, we get to say YES! Yes to love, yes to commitment and yes to freedom,” Minnesotans United head Richard Carlbom, wrote on the group’s Facebook page. “Then, we have research to conduct. We have important conversations to have with our legislators. We have a broad coalition to engage and hundreds of communities to work with. And once we’ve secured the freedom to marry, we’ll need to offer support to those legislators who had the courage to stand up for freedom and love at the State Capitol.”

Already, other interest groups have announced that they intend to support Minnesotans United with its efforts.

The Minnesota chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics that working toward marriage equality is one of their legislative priorities.

“The MNAAP played a key role in the coalition effort to defeat the proposed amendment to the Minnesota Constitution in 2012, and will continue to suport the right of every child and family to the legal, financial, and psychosocial security that results from having legally recognized parents who are committed to each other and to the welfare of their children,” the group wrote in its email newsletter.

Marriage Equality Minnesota, the group that wrote much of the marriage equality legislation in past legislative sessions has also announced a partnership with Minnesotans United.

“Marriage Equality Minnesota and Minnesotans United For All Families have the same goals and timeframe for achieving marriage equality through legislative action, so we are pleased to announce the joining of forces in that effort,” wrote the group’s founder, Doug Benson, on Facebook. “Marriage Equality Minnesota and Minnesotans United will create a single, marriage equality bill to be introduced at the legislature in the very near future and expect to have passage, with your help, at an early date.”

DFLers, who control all levels of state government, are taking a cautious approach. And according to an analysis by TheColu.mn, the vote count could be very close.

Some legislators say a bill could be offered as soon as February.