The Independence Party of Minnesota has officially announced it will campaign against a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage.
The issue of whether to codify the state’s existing statutory ban on same-sex marriage will be put before voters at the 2012 ballot.
The Independence Party of Minnesota, one of three political parties in Minnesota with major party status, announced on Tuesday that it is joining the campaign to defeat a ballot measure that would place a ban on marriage for same-sex couples in the Minnesota Constitution if passed by the voters in 2012. The party announced shortly after the Minnesota Legislature passed the ballot initiative that it opposed the amendment, but the new announcement means party activists will actively campaign against the measure.
“Our platform declares that ‘We oppose having the government impose state-sponsored morality or values on people of good conscience with differing views,” chair Mark Jenkins said in a statement. “This is a perfect example.”
With this the party joins the DFL in active opposition to the amendment. Putting the constitutional amendment before voters has been part of the Republican party’s platform in the state, and with majorities in both legislative chambers and a Democratic governor unable to veto the measure — though Dayton did symbolically veto it as a show of protest — Republicans were able to make their plans a reality after many years of trying.
As noted above, Minnesota already has a statutory ban on same-sex marriage but Republican legislators have said they want to give voters the chance to prevent “activist judges” from overturning the ban. Opponents of the measure say it is unnecessarily divisive at a time when the state needs to pull together to ensure fiscal recovery.
Polls suggest Minnesotans are about evenly divided on the issue with Public Policy Polling finding that 46% of people favor the amendment while 47% are opposed and 7% are undecided.
In a piece published earlier this year for the New York Times, respected statistician Nate Silver predicted that the 2012 ballot initiative is likely, though not certain, to fail given the upward trend in support for marriage equality. He also pointed out that even based on a conservative model tracking support for same-sex marriage, if constitutional amendments banning marriage equality in various states around the U.S. were voted on today, many would be overturned.