Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has been telling Minnesotans for years that gay marriage could find its way into the state if they didn't act to stop it. On Tuesday, Bachmann's prediction came true: Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) signed a bill that had been passed by the state Legislature, including by lawmakers who had worked alongside then-state Sen. Bachmann.
Bachmann campaigned tirelessly against gay marriage during her years in the state Senate, trying repeatedly and unsuccessfully to convince her colleagues that a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman should be placed before the voters.
Here's Bachmann arguing for a same-sex marriage ban in 2004. Back then, she was concerned that "activist judges" might force gay marriage onto Minnesota by ruling that the state had to honor nuptials conducted in other states like Massachusetts, which had recently legalized gay marriage. There's also some concern about polygamy and group marriages.
After Bachmann left St. Paul for Congress in 2007, state lawmakers sympathetic to her views had some success, getting an anti-gay marriage amendment on the ballot in 2012. But voters rejected it in November.
A recent poll found that a majority of Minnesotans favored legalizing same-sex marriage. The state's lawmakers reflected that support with their votes of 75 to 59 in the state House and 37 to 30 in the state Senate for the new law. With Dayton's signature, 12 states and the District of Columbia now allow gay marriage.
Gay couples will be able to wed in Minnesota beginning Aug. 1. While Bachmann won't actually be leaving the state in protest, as the satire site Daily Currant recently wrote, she tweeted Monday something of a swan song for her efforts against marriage equality in her home state:
I’m proud to have introduced the original traditional marriage amendment, and I thank all Minnesotans who have worked so hard on this issue.
— Michele Bachmann (@MicheleBachmann) May 13, 2013
Bachmann later released a statement, saying she was "disappointed" that the legislation had passed and arguing that it "denies religious liberty to people who believe in traditional marriage and who do not want to be forced to violate their conscience and sincerely held religious beliefs."
Gay rights advocates, meanwhile, are ecstatic.
"Guess what? I'm going to be a married man in Minnesota," said state Sen. Scott Dibble (D), chief author of the same-sex marriage bill, at a rally on Monday.
Dibble then continued, "This conversation does not stop today. We continue this conversation. We continue to build this movement ... I invite people who are not necessarily happy today to open up your hearts. Look at the beauty in this rotunda. How can this be anything but good?"
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