Marriage amendment backers count on DFL votes

Conventional political wisdom is that a gay-marriage prohibition on the Nov. 6 ballot would pit Democratic-Farmer-Laborites against Republicans.

“It is not that cut and dried,” Chuck Darrell said.

Darrell, Minnesota for Marriage spokesman, said Democrats are needed to pass a constitutional amendment to define marriage as being between a man and a woman.

On Nov. 6, Minnesota voters will decide whether to insert the marriage definition into the state Constitution.

Darrell, whose group is pushing the amendment, said exit polls during a similar California vote showed 36 percent of Democrats favored the constitutional amendment, as did 56 percent of union households.

“We are counting on 40 percent of the DFL vote here in Minnesota to vote for the marriage amendment, and similar numbers within the minority communities,” Darrell said, adding that Ethiopian communities are examples of traditional Democrats backing the amendment.

Darrell said DFL efforts to drive up turnout for the President Barack Obama also could help produce pro-amendment voters.

At the same time, some conservative libertarians may not vote for it because they oppose the government interfering with the family.

“Support for the marriage amendment crosses every kind of boundary you can imagine,” Darrell said.

Sociology professor Debra Peterson of Bemidji State University agreed that party preference is not a firm sign: “Even within parties, there is a difference of opinion.”

Still, she said, “my observation is those who are more religiously conservative tend to … feel marriage needs to be protected from what they perceive as a threat, a threat being gay marriage.”

DFL state convention delegates voted more than a month ago to oppose the amendment, and the party is working against it.

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