Republican Minnesota representative Peggy Scott wept when the Minnesota House legalized same sex marriage in a historic vote Thursday. Her tears were not tears of joy, but tears of mourning for the state she represents. "My heart is breaking for Minnesota," she cried. The Minneapolis Star Tribune added:
The dramatic vote came after a sometimes passionate, three-hour debate that culminated when four Republican members privately wrestling with the issue joined a majority of Democrats to pass the measure 75-59. The debate raged as hundreds of advocates from both sides gathered outside the House gallery chanting, waving signs and praying.
Opponents failed in their last-minute push to persuade a crucial few legislators that the DFL-controlled Legislature is going against the wishes of a majority of Minnesotans. They are now regrouping to convince Senators that marriage is a union between one man and one woman ordained by God, not any state or federal law. A final Senate vote comes Monday.
“My heart breaks for Minnesota,” said a Rep. Peggy Scott, R-Andover.
“It’s a divisive issue that divides our state,” she said, wiping tears from her eyes as she stood on the House floor after the vote. “It’s not what we needed to be doing at this time. We want to come together for the state of Minnesota, we don’t want to divide it.”
The issue is undergoing a remarkable transformation in the state. Just two years ago, Republicans who then controlled the Legislature put a measure on the ballot that would have inserted into the Constitution a ban on same-sex marriage. Voters defeated the measure, sending one of the first faint signals in what is becoming a profound national shift on the issue. Within months, advocates from the other side returned to the Capitol to press legislators to make Minnesota the 12th state to legalize same-sex marriage.
The debate stands to be the most divisive, dramatic and unpredictable at the Capitol this year.
The Daily Kos, noting Scott's tears, quipped that Thursday might have been a sad day in Minnesota–for bigots.
Oh, how sad for Peggy. Well, it's sad that equal rights make her cry. And it's sad that she's a bigot.
Otherwise? It's a great day for Minnesota.
According to the Star Tribune, at least one other Minnesota Republican fears that the public schools will become centers of indoctrination, and that the schools will be forced to teach homosexuality in sex education classes, normalizing what he calls "deviant behavior." And Republican representative Kelby Woodard thinks that the victory in the House means that the government of Minnesota are calling those who oppose the bill bigots. “We are classifying half of Minnesotans as bigots in this bill — and they are not,” Woodard said.
Minnesota's Democratic governor Mark Dayton will sign the bill into law if it passes the Minnesota senate, which would make Minnesota the twelfth state to pass marriage equality, and the first midwestern state to do it legislatively.