Maggie Gallagher

Now that the Minnesota legislature has said “yes” to putting a constitutional amendment declaring marriage the union of one man and one woman on the November 2012 ballot, some of its leading supporters are warning the normally nice folks in the Midwestern state to get ready for an ugly battle.

“There’s going to be an incredible effort to paint good, decent and honorable Americans who believe marriage is the union of husband and wife, as if Minnesotans who believe that are hateful bigots,” claims National Organization for Marriage Board Chairman Maggie Gallagher. “No matter how sincerely and thoughtfully and reasonably we talk about our concerns, we get treated as though we are the biggest haters.”

Minnesota House Bill 1613, aimed at preventing Minnesota’s marriage statute from being overturned in the courts, passed by a narrow 70-62 vote. Even though his action is merely symbolic and can’t stop the measure from reaching the voters, the state’s Democratic Governor Mark Dayton vetoed the bill in pointed condemnation.

“I do not have the power to prevent this divisive and destructive constitutional amendment from appearing on the ballot in November 2012,” Dayton wrote in an explanation of his action. “Thus, symbolic as it may be, I am exercising my legal responsibility to either sign or veto it.

“The path of social progress, of human compassion and understanding, would be tragically reversed by this amendment,” he continued. “Minnesotans are better than this. I urge Minnesotans to reject this amendment.”

But Gallagher says that she believes the negative rhetoric represented by Dayton’s veto message will backfire.

“I think there’s going to be a systematic effort not to disagree in a civil and thoughtful manner, but to paint disagreement itself as evidence that people who believe in a heartfelt, classical definition of marriage are bad people,” Gallagher stated.

“This is being encouraged by the ‘gay’ marriage advocates, but I think it will backfire,” she continued. “I think that the people of Minnesota are going to feel that their friends and neighbors and family members who believe marriage is between a man and a woman aren’t bad people.

“Even if they’re for ‘gay’ marriage, the people will see how Governor Dayton is trying to portray them, and they’re not going to like it,” she said.

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Gallagher’s comments can be heard in the audio clip below:

Gallagher, who is also president of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, says the view that marriage amendments are divisive is misleading, a misconception fueled in part by skewed polls, as people fear being labeled as “bigots.”

“We win in every state of the union when we get the chance to fight on [the marriage issue], ” Gallagher said. “The polls on ‘gay’ marriage historically have been off anywhere between three to seven points.”

Gallagher explained the polling discrepancy illustrates her point: “The disconnect between what people tell pollsters and what they actually believe is growing worse. … A cultural environment is being created, especially for Democrats and independents who depend on the mainstream media, where support for traditional marriage is being treated as controversial or hateful.

“People are going reluctant to admit that [support for traditional marriage] is their view,” Gallagher said.

But Gallagher also said defenders of marriage between one man and one woman need not be intimidated.

“We keep winning victory after victory, which has been incredibly underreported by the mainstream media, which is pushing a message of despair on this issue,” Gallagher observed. “We helped the people of Minnesota pass the marriage amendment through the legislature. It’s shocking because the pundits in the mainstream media created a false picture of where we are in this issue in this country.”

Minnesota is only the latest in a series of states to vote on marriage amendments. In 31 consecutive elections on the issue, voters have come down on the side of traditional marriage.

As WND reported, other states – such as Maryland and Rhode Island – have tried to pass bills legalizing same-sex marriage, only to have grass-roots efforts rise up and stop the measures.

Gallagher points out that even proponents of “same-sex marriage” know they still don’t have public support.

“It’s hard to believe that if the support is there, that we could have blocked gay marriage bills in some of the bluest states in the nation,” Gallagher said. “Just this spring in Maryland and in Rhode Island they preferred to have bills die rather than refer them to a fair and open vote of the people.”

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