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GOP tries unsuccessfully to block Minnesota marriage bill

Timothy Kincaid

March 14th, 2013

A series of procedural votes suggest that marriage will pass the Minnesota Senate. (PostBulletin)

While the votes were procedural, Republicans portrayed a final floor vote as a functional vote on gay marriage. That motion, which adds the bill to a long list of bills awaiting action on the Senate floor, passed 35-31. One Republican senator joined all but four of the chamber’s Democrats to keep the bill moving.

But it is the argument in opposition that floors me. Having discovered that marriage equality is coming to Minnesota, Senate Republicans have suddenly found a concern over the fiscal impact of marriage.

On Wednesday, Senate Republicans produced a document they said shows that authorizing gay marriage could cost the state’s insurance fund over $600,000 a year to provide coverage to spouses of gay state employees. They questioned whether it could also increase court costs or have other ramifications on state spending, and said the bill should be reviewed by the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees spending.

“I think it’s going to cost the state of Minnesota a bunch of money,” said Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson. “I think that impact is going to be significant. If I’m wrong, so be it.”

So that’s why they oppose equality. Not because it is gay people we are talking about, but because treating all of the state’s citizens equally would increase the annual state budget by 0.0018 percent.

As a fiscal conservative – and an accountant – this argument is far far more offensive than worries about The Children, or the Traditional Definition of Marriage, or even The End of Civilization As We Know It.

This is an acknowledgment that gay citizens are treated unequally. This is a calculation of the cost to the gay and lesbian citizens of Minnesota that they unfairly pay. And the argument is that although gays and lesbians receive $600,000 less in state services – services freely given to straight state employees but for which gay state employees have to reach in their own pocket – this discrimination should continue because equality would increase the budget by about 1.8 thousands of a percent.

As an argument for tossing the right to a citizen’s self determination out the window, this is about as offensive and stupid as it gets.

Comments

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Ben In Oakland
March 14th, 2013 | LINK

If they’re so concerned about the fiscal impact, I would suggest a GOP sponsored bill to remove any state sponsored benefits from ANY state employee, including themselves, rather than trying to find a reason to withhold them from legally married people.

Those minnisota crickets be chirpin’ mightly loud.

Snowman
March 14th, 2013 | LINK

You know, niether Conservatism nor Republicanism, nor even religion, inherantly demands that some people be treated unequally by the State.

It’s like I told an African American co-worker last week. To hear today’s Republicans tell it, you would think that the whole of our social order depends on one person having the right to discriminate against another. Where the hell they ever got that idea, I don’t know.

Only a tiny minority (NOM and organizations like it) really benefit from all this prejudice against gay people. Hell, none of the homophobic people that I know has ever benefitted from being that way in any way that I’ve ever seen. It’s been that way with prejudice and racism throughout history. It’s wrong, pure and simple, and all too easily used as a distraction by greedy elites who are usually looking to bilk the masses out of more money and/or be able to say “I’m better than you.”

It seems like humanity should be doing better than that by now.

Lindoro Almaviva
March 14th, 2013 | LINK

It might be offensive and stupid, but it is a great argument for our side, because it proves that we are treated unequally not only legally but also economically. This can be used to further demonstrate and quantify the impact of inequality in the state.

I hope supporters of equality in MN take this and run with it. This could potentially be embarrassing to the GOP and they should end with egg on their faces for it. ,

Richard Rush
March 14th, 2013 | LINK

So, if I understand the GOP correctly, they would be more than happy to support marriage-associated expenses if we enter into dysfunctional/sham marriages with opposite-sex persons – because that would benefit society. But building a life by marrying the person we actually love is immoral, and thus, the associated expenses cannot be tolerated.

Hunter
March 14th, 2013 | LINK

But, but — fiscal responsibility!!

ScooterJ
March 14th, 2013 | LINK

I assume the positive fiscal impact of marriage equality on Minnesota’s marriage-related businesses was conveniently ignored?

esurience
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

The absurdity of this argument is that you could arbitrarily pick any segment of the population, and single them out for either denying services, or increasing taxes.

Hey, why not tax left-handed Jews more, we’d make some money from that!

Why not charge Hispanic people more to get a driver’s license at the DMV — another brilliant revenue generator!

Martin
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

Whenever someone trots out the argument that “it will cost N additional dollars to provide benefits for same-sex spouses,” I wonder what they’d say if all those gay employees were to turn heterosexual and acquire opposite-sex spouses overnight.

Phil
March 15th, 2013 | LINK

But they wouldn’t mind if we “turned straight” and fulfilled the wishes of the right wing nutjobs and married persons of the opposite sex? The cost would be the same in that scenario, but I doubt you’d hear any complaints from this group.

Pretty hypocritical.

Mark F.
March 18th, 2013 | LINK

I’m sure that marriage actually saves taxpayers money and is an overall economic benefit when you take all things into account. Speaking purely as a utilitarian.

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