The proposal will be on the November ballot and reads simply: "Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota." Twenty-nine states have passed similar amendments, with the goal of preventing courts from legalizing gay "marriage," as happened in Massachusetts, Iowa and Connecticut.
The communications director for Obama's Minnesota campaign told Metro Weekly, "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.
The statement continued, "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 language is nearly identical to the statement released in March when Obama announced his opposition to North Carolina's proposed marriage amendment, which will be on the ballot May 8. But significantly, the Minnesota amendment -- unlike the North Carolina proposal -- does not prohibit same-sex civil unions and domestic partnerships. Obama supports civil unions, and his opposition to the North Carolina proposal could have been interpreted simply as taking a stand for civil unions. But Obama's opposition to the Minnesota amendment means he is opposing an amendment that prohibits that which he supposedly opposes -- gay "marriage." It's not the first time he's taken a seemingly confusing position on the issue. When campaigning in 2008, he said he opposed gay "marriage" while at the same time also opposing California Proposition 8, which defined marriage in the traditional sense.
Obama has said he's "evolving" on the issue. In February, his press secretary said the president's position was unchanged.
Greg Sargent, who blogs for The Washington Post, called Obama's position "untenable."
"Given Obama's record so far on gay rights, few gay advocates believe that Obama genuinely opposes gay marriage," Sargent wrote in a May 10 post.
Compiled by Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press.
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