President Obama’s campaign in Minnesota on Monday officially opposed a constitutional amendment there to ban same sex marriage.
In a statement, Obama’s Minnesota Communications Director Kristin Sosanie said: “While the President does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the record is clear that the President has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same sex couples. That’s what the Minnesota ballot initiative would do - it would single out and discriminate against committed gay and lesbian couples - and that’s why the President does not support it.”
The gay marriage fight in Minnesota promises to be close — and expensive. According to a Public Policy Polling (D) survey in late January, 48 percent of respondents support the amendment and 44 percent are opposed. Advocacy groups on both sides have raised big money, and David Schultz, a law professor at Hamline University in St. Paul, estimates that as much as $10 million will be spent on advertising on the issue.
Minnesotans United for All Families, a group opposing the amendment, in a statement thanked Obama for weighing in. “We’re happy that President Obama and Minnesotans from all walks of life see this amendment for what it is - a government exclusion to a group of people simply because of who they are,” the group said.
Kate Brickman, Minnesota United’s press secretary, told TPM that Obama’s opposition is a “welcome surprise.” Many Minnesotans are still undecided how they feel about gay marriage, but they may not ready to put a ban on the state’s Constitution, she said. The amendment “would shut down the conversation once and for all.”
The group is getting ready to open new offices across the state, and more than 60 new community organizers have joined the effort in the last week.
Minnesota for Marriage, a proponent of the marriage amendment, did not respond to TPM’s requests for comment.
David Taintor is TPM’s News Editor. He contributes to TPM’s Livewire coverage, among other areas. David is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, where, yes, it gets very cold. Reach him at taintor [at] talkingpointsmemo.com