Traditional marriage advocates at the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) have promised to spend a half a million dollars against Minnesota Republican lawmakers who plan to vote yes on a likely late-session push to legalize gay marriage.
The announcement came days after 27-year-old Sen. Branden Petersen became the first Republican lawmaker in Minnesota to say he would likely support a bill to legalize gay marriage. In a release on Monday, NOM President Brian Brown singled out the senator from Andover.
“Republicans like Branden Petersen don’t realize that not only is voting to redefine marriage a terrible policy, it is also a career-ending vote for a Republican,” Brown said. “NOM will do everything in our power to defeat any Republican who votes in favor of same-sex marriage.”
NOM, which contributed more than $2 million to the fight over a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage last fall, pointed to its work to defeat three out of four Republican legislators in New York last year who voted to legalize gay marriage.
“NOM was instrumental in all three outcomes, funding billboards, mailers, telephone calls and grassroots activities,” the release said. “We helped take out three of those senators by repeatedly informing their constituents of their betrayal on marriage. They are now out of office. We will not hesitate to do the same thing in Minnesota.”
NOM said it will also spend money to support any Democratic legislator who votes to “preserve marriage,” asking DFLers to vote with their “values” and “not what their party bosses tell them.” DFL Sen. Scott Dibble planned to introduce a bill to legalize gay marriage this week — with Petersen signed on as a co-sponsor — and a bill in the House is also expected by the end of the month.
Minnesotans United for All Families executive director Richard Carlbom said research from national pro-gay marriage groups show the majority of legislators who support gay marriage are reelected. Minnesotans United is the main group supporting a move to legalize gay marriage this session.
The numbers, crunched by national groups Freedom to Marry and Third Way, show that of the 196 lawmakers in New York and Washington that supported gay marriage, only five lost their seats in the 2012 election. Only three of those losses could be tied to their vote on gay marriage, according to the research.
“Statistics show that nearly every legislator who stands up for the basic freedom to marry — like Senator Petersen — is rewarded for their leadership with re-election,” Carlbom said in a statement. “This desperate attempt by the National Organization for Marriage to financially bully legislators to vote against their values clearly shows they know that Minnesotans want to secure the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in 2013.”