By Cyndy Brucato
Another prominent Minnesota Republican has endorsed gay marriage, this one a former statewide office-holder.
Pat Anderson, former state auditor and Republican national committeewoman and current chair of the 4th Congressional District Republicans, states her support for same-sex marriage in a just-published opinion article in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
She joins Republican Sen. Branden Petersen,who last week announced that he would co-sponsor legislation legalizing gay marriage. Such a measure is to be introduced Wednesday by DFL Sen. Scott Dibble and Rep. Karen Clark.
In an interview with MinnPost, she explained her reasons. Here's an edited transcript of the conversation:
MinnPost: You not only personally support gay marriage, but you urge other Republicans to join you. Why?
Pat Anderson: As conservatives, our goal should be to encourage marriage, encourage two-parent families. Right now we have a situation where gay couples are bringing up children without protection ,and that’s anti- family. The fact is, gay couples have children who should be brought up with two parents.
Small-government conservatives, such as myself, generally believe that government should not be dictating these sorts of issues. We need to recognize that as conservatives our goal should be to limit government.
MP: How many Republicans will be persuaded by this argument?
PA: This is part of the battle between the liberty wing of the party and the traditional conservatives. Half to a third of Republican activists support gay marriage, although the ideal position is that government has no role in marriage.
At a minimum, I know there are many Republicans and Republican legislators who feel the same as I do, but it’s a matter of sticking your neck out.
MP: Why did you stick yours out?
PA: The way the statutes are written is discriminatory based on gender and sexual orientation. We need to recognize that.
There are special benefits to married couples that are not given to gay couples. Government is providing a set of benefits to one group of people, but another group does not qualify.
MP: Still, this is not a subject where Republican activists will agree to disagree. Can the two sides be brought together?
PA: The gist of my message is that the Republican Party is divided on this issue. There are social conservatives very much opposed to gay marriage. But, there are also a lot of Republican activists who, if you ask them, say they don’t care about the issue. So, my answer is if you don’t care, why are you limiting freedom?
MP: You advocate that Republicans drop opposition to gay marriage. Should this extend to the party’s opposition to abortion?
PA: The abortion issue is certainly a social issue, but it is also about when you believe life begins. Most Republicans are pro-life and frankly, as modern medicine gets better and better, babies are surviving at younger and younger ages. The abortion issue if very different from other issues.
MP: Is there a political argument to be made to support gay marriage?
PA: I think gay marriage is inevitable because of the position of the younger generation, and it’s just a matter of when. And the longer we as party fight the issue, the smaller we are going to become.