The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

February 20, 2013

Minnesota gay marriage opponents weighing counter strategy

— A national momentum toward the acceptance of gay marriage is changing the tactics of Minnesota opponents.

With the imminent introduction of bills legalizing gay marriage, some Republicans are saying privately that they may counter with a call for less-sweeping legislation, such as recognition of civil unions or reciprocal benefits for couples.

Republican legislators are said to be considering the change in tactics, partly from personal conviction and partly as a response to the party’s drubbing for its support of the marriage amendment.

“I think there would be some people, Republicans, interested in some alternatives,” said Tom Prichard, executive director of the Minnesota Family Council, which opposes gay marriage and took part in unsuccessful efforts last year to pass a constitutional amendment defining marriage as an union between a man and woman.

Prichard said the Family Council would continue to oppose legislation that, in his words, is “marriage by another name.” He said legislation creating the status of civil unions is problematic, “depending on how you define things.”

He contends that a law allowing reciprocal benefits to partners who cannot marry under the law — gay couples and siblings, for example — is a fairer way to address the issue.

“It would cover any two people who cannot marry but who care for each other,” he said.  Prichard described a package of benefits, offered in other states, that protects inheritance, property, and visitation rights.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, eight states, including Wisconsin, give non-married couples the right of reciprocal benefits, to varying degrees.  The most expansive benefits are offered in California and Hawaii.

In Wisconsin, which has a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a male-female union, registered domestic partners have inheritance and survivor protections, family and medical leave, and medical and hospital visitation rights.  

A Republican senior adviser to Minnesotans United for All Families, who prefers to remain unnamed, said a counter-offer of civil unions would be a non-starter for the gay marriage movement, which now sees a sea change in attitude.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • ND deputy hurt in scuffle Suspect charged with assaulting, trying to disarm law officer

    July 28, 2014

  • Fergus Falls plans deer hunt Hunters are selected by a lottery, pay $20 fee

    July 28, 2014

  • Man killed in home invasion Homeowner's son in Ray, Minn., fires fatal shot

    July 28, 2014

  • Charges filed in July 8 fatal Dodge Center woman criminally charged in fatal car crash

    July 28, 2014

  • American doctor in Africa gets treatment for Ebola BOONE, N.C. (AP) — An American doctor infected with the deadly Ebola disease received intensive treatment Sunday in West Africa and was in stable condition, talking to his medical team and working on his computer, a spokeswoman for an aid group said.

    July 27, 2014

  • Salmonella Outbreak Trial [Duplicate] Trial in salmonella outbreak to start in Georgia ATLANTA (AP) — Three people accused of scheming to manufacture and ship salmonella-tainted peanuts that killed nine people, sickened more than 700 and prompted one of the largest food recalls in history are set to go to trial this week in south Georg

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pitfalls emerge in health insurance renewals WASHINGTON — For the 8 million people who persevered through all the technical travails in the new health insurance exchanges and managed to sign up for coverage in 2014, their policies will probably automatically renew come November when open enroll

    July 27, 2014

  • Hamas agrees to 24-hour holiday truce in Gaza war GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Hamas on Sunday agreed to observe a 24-hour truce in Gaza after initially rejecting a similar Israeli offer, as fighting resumed and the two sides wrangled over the terms of a lull that international diplomats had hoped c

    July 27, 2014

  • Solar car race to end at University of Minnesota MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A cross-country solar car race is set to finish at the University of Minnesota on Monday. About 10 solar cars from colleges around the world are competing in the eight-day, 1,700-mile American Solar Challenge. The race began July

    July 27, 2014

  • Dozens of oil trains pass through Minnesota weekly Railroad documents released by the state Department of Public Safety show about 50 trains carrying crude oil from North Dakota are passing through Minnesota each week.

    July 26, 2014