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Monday, March 20, 2006

Paul Koering and Jim Vickerman Vote to Bring Bachmann Amendment to the Floor

Minnesota for Marriage puts out another hysteria-laced press release:

People of Minnesota silenced again!
DFL Senators carry out Johnson/Betzold scheme to muzzle the voice of Minnesotan’s by twice rejecting efforts to discuss marriage amendment on senate floor.

ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA - Today, the DFL controlled senate – twice - voted to reject discussion of the marriage amendment. "This is inexcusable", said Chuck Darrell communications director of Minnesota for Marriage. "This is just another example of the Johnson/Betzold political scheme to censor the people of Minnesota from defining marriage as between one man and one woman. When will DFL senators show some backbone and stand with their constituents – instead of special interests - who are simply asking for the opportunity to vote on the definition of marriage?"

I repeat. I think the amendment bill should come to the floor for a vote. However, that doesn't mean that because of Johnson's actions, we throw out the committee system and cast a sympathy vote for the marriage amendment. Because of what Johnson said and did the amendment has no greater nor no less significance, no greater no less credibility, no greater no less urgency for passage. The Senate still ought to follow its rules; I would urge members of the Judiciary committee to pass the bill, with or without recommendation to the Senate floor for debate.

Senator Jim Vickerman, DFL District 20, was the lone DFL senator to vote twice to hear discussion. "We thank Senator Vickerman for standing with his constituents and supporting the marriage amendment. We look forward to his continued support in the future," he added.

Senator Paul Koering GOP District 12 voted twice to here discussion as well. "Our heartfelt thanks to Senator Koering," said Darrell. "We plan to let Senator Koering's constituents know that Paul heard their voice and voted to bring the amendment to the floor," said Darrell.

I'm disappointed by Koering's vote. Last year he voted against Michele Bachmann's motion to bring the vote to the floor.

Craig Westover responds to Darrell's the sky is falling press release:

Just because the people want to vote on the amendment, that doesn't mean that they should. This is first an foremost a legislative issue. This is a great example of why we have a republican form of government and not a true democracy. The public's response to the issue is visceral. Legislators should vote on the amendment considering a broader view of what constitutes constitutionality, the impact on other laws, the broader social consequences -- that's why we have a committee system. No legislator should vote for the amendment bill just because people want to vote and he or she wishes to please constituents. Each vote for the amendment should be cast because the legislator truly believes the amendment would be good for Minnesota.

Outfront Minnesota sends out an action alert:

TODAY: Proponents of "anti-marriage" amendment force TWO Senate votes ... take action!

(March 20) - One day before the Minnesota Family Council's planned rally at the State Capitol in favor of a proposed amendment to the Minnesota constitution that would ban any form of legal recognition of same-sex couples, senators supporting the amendment forced two procedural votes designed to short-circuit Senate rules for handling bills, including constitutional amendments.

In a first vote, senators turned back by a 34-31 tally a demand by Sen. Michele Bachmann (R - Stillwater) that the bill, SF 1691, be pulled from the Senate Judiciary Committee and be brought to the Senate floor for a vote by the full Senate.

A second move, sponsored by Sean Nienow (R - Cambridge), proposed a new constitutional amendment, identical to Sen. Bachmann's, and also insisted that it be put to an immediate vote by the full Senate. This effort was defeated by a 35-30 vote.

These proposals to simply ignore the rules of the Senate managed to eat up some three hours of the Senate calendar. In the end, both proposals were DEFEATED, outcomes that OutFront Minnesota supports strongly. Vote count: each DFL Senator (and Independence Party Sen. Sheila Kiscaden of Rochester) voted against these proposals EXCEPT Sen. Jim Vickerman (DFL - Tracy), and each Republican Senator voted for these proposals. DFL Sens. Mee Moua and Leroy Stumpf were absent and did not vote. Sen. Gary Kubly (DFL - Granite Falls) inadvertently voted in favor of Sen. Bachmann's proposal, but voted against Sen. Nienow's, which explains the inconsistent vote tallies above.

TAKE ACTION! If you have not contacted your state senator yet to register your opposition to SF 1691, a proposal that would mandate permanent second-class citizenship for same-sex couples in Minnesota by withholding any form of legal recognition of their families, THIS IS THE TIME. Senators who stood with us on these votes, including Sen. Kubly, need to be thanked for taking a courageous stand against those who insist on amending our constitution, for the first time, to single out a group of people for unequal treatment. Senators who supported these procedural moves need to be reminded that their constituents do not support them. Sens. Moua and Stumpf should be thanked for their historic support for OutFront Minnesota's position on the constitutional amendment proposal, and encouraged to stay strong in the face of relentless attacks by amendment supporters.

Click here: for a complete list of senators, where their phone numbers, email addresses, and addresses are quickly available. Don't know who your state senator is? Click here: to type in your zip code and be provided your state senator's (and state representative's) name.

DON'T FORGET to attend the People of Faith Rally at the Capitol this Thursday the 23rd from 8-9am. Wake up early and be counted! For more information.