Tuesday morning, activists pushing to stop a proposed constitutional amendment that would write a ban on same-sex marriage into the state constitution received what could prove to be a vital shot in the arm.
Minnesotans United for All Families announced that the Minnesota chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics would be joining their coalition of groups opposing the marriage amendment. Current state law already bans same-sex marriage in Minnesota.
"As an advocate for children and their families, MN-AAP believes this amendment would be harmful to children and adolescents in Minnesota," read a statement from the group, saying it would also harm the stability of same-sex families, thus hurting children.
The move is potentially significant as pro-amendment group Minnesota for Marriage and its allies have long maintained that children fare poorly when raised by same-sex couples.
In an interview with Patch, the head of the doctors' group said the decision to oppose the marriage amendment was made after a process he called "rich, deliberate, done over a long period of time, and with input from variety of experts."
25 years of research, Dr. Robert Jacobson said, showed children of same-sex couples in committed relationships were just as physically, emotionally, and intellectually healthy as their counterparts in committed, heterosexual relationships.
Minnesota for Marriage did not return repeated requests for comment on this story in time for publication, but the group's spokesperson Autumn Leva argued to Minnesota Public Radio that the research Jacobson cited was "flawed."
"Most Minnesotans understand in their heart of hearts that marriage really is between one man and one woman and that kids do need a mom and a dad," Leva told MPR. "And I think for far too long, politics has really played in to the research that's been done on parenting."
In an interview with Patch, Jacobson called the battery of studies behind his group's decision "robust."
"There have been many specific studies over the years, and they have reaffirmed earlier studies showing this. Really, in the medical literature, there is not a controversy about this," he said.
The language on the ballot
On Monday, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled to keep the ballot titles and questions for the voter ID and same-sex marriage amendments will appear as the Republican-controlled Legislature wrote them.
On the ballot, the title above the voter ID amendment will be, "Photo Identification Required for Voting." Ritchie changed it to "Changes to In-Person & Absentee Voting & Voter Registration; Provisional Ballots," but Chief Justice Lorie Skjerven Gildea and justices G. Barry Anderson, Christopher Dietzen and David Stras rejected his change.
State Rep. Tom Tillberry (DFL-51B), whose district includes part of Fridley, wrote in an email that he thought the amendments going to the voters were a waste of money:
The amendments shouldn't be going to the voters in the first place. We don't have a voter fraud problem, so this just cuts out portions of a population from voting. Also, the marriage amendment just discriminates and is truly divisive for our citizens. I would find that explaining the actions of this current legislature very difficult to our children and grandchildren. I feel that if these amendments are passed, we will find ourselves on the wrong side of history. Hopefully enough people will realize that our supreme law of our land (State Constitution) shouldn't be the place for these amendments.
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