Minnesota: Vikings cut LGBT ally Chris Kluwe

As Chris Kluwe forecast after they drafted UCLA punter Jeff Locke in the fifth round last week, the Minnesota Vikings have released him.

From the Star Tribune:

The 31-year-old was given the news Monday morning at Winter Park during a meeting with General Manager Rick Spielman. Kluwe had been anticipating the move, one that became transparent April 27 when the team used a fifth-round draft pick on UCLA punter Jeff Locke.

Locke participated in the team’s three-day rookie mini-camp over the weekend and fared well enough for the Vikings to feel totally secure in selecting him. And that meant kicking the door open and sending Kluwe on his way.

While the Vikings won’t admit it, it’s clear Kluwe’s public support for equality became a headache for the team. Punters in the NFL rarely have the kind of high profile, political voice Kluwe has demonstrated. I imagine the Vikings would very much like to have a punter in the more “anonymous” vein.

I do love this quote from Chip Scoggins – pretty much sums it up:

Kluwe’s departure will make the Vikings locker room a lot more dull because he is incredibly intelligent, articulate and passionate about societal issues. He’s a fascinating individual in a sport that breeds conformity. The NFL has become so big and so powerful that players often cling to political correctness for fear that a ripple might swell into a tidal wave. Kluwe is that surfer dude on top of the wave, hanging 10 on any issue that stirs his emotion.

Kluwe, always a class act, wrote this on Twitter as the news broke:

Minnesota: House Ways and Means committee to consider marriage equality bill today

The Minnesota House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to review marriage equality legislation today after a state analysis showed a small impact on Minnesota’s general fund.

The state report predicted that approximately 114 state employees might enroll their same-sex spouses for benefits. That could cost the state about $688,000 a year. But it would be partly offset by about $190,000 from same-sex couples buying marriage licenses.

Aslo part of the equation, a Williams Institute study showed that marriage equality could bring up to $42 Million to the state in additional spending. 

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has shown wide public support for the marriage equality bill.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Dayton spoke personally about the issue to House Democrats last week. In addition, his campaign sent out an appeal urging supporters of Marriage Equality to contact their legislators to support the bill.

The state lawmakers have previously passed the legislation out of committees, and a vote in both the House and Senate could happen anytime soon, possibly this week.


Minnesota: Mother, father and son give emotional testimony for marriage equality

Jacob Reitan, an activist who helped found the Soulforce Equality Ride, and his parents Randi and Philip, offered testimony at the Minnesota marriage equality hearings yesterday, after which both the Senate and House bills advanced to their respective floors for upcoming consideration.

I don’t know why but when the father’s voice breaks as he begins speaking, so did my heart.

What great parents. Jacob must be very proud.

(via Towleroad)

Minnesota: former House rep regrets vote for state DOMA

Former Minnesota House Rep. Lynne Osterman gave an emotional speech yesterday, explaining why she now regrets her vote for Minnesota’s version of the Defense of Marriage Act.

“I didn’t come to Saint Paul to single out same-sex couples and their families, but in my only term as a member,” she said, her voice trembling, “I cast a politically expedient vote in favor of DOMA and I regretted that ever since. It was not in my conscience, or my own compass.”

“I blew my vote and I’m imploring you, please get this right.”

(via good as you)

Minnesota: “Concerned Citizen” Mike Frey explains anal sex & AIDS

From the ongoing debate about marriage equality today in the Minnesota House.

So, let me get this straight, Mike:

1. Sodomy is sexual conduct via either the mouth or the anus.
2. Sex by these means causes AIDS.
3. But ONLY gay men have sex by mouth or anus?
4. Keeping gay men from getting married will stop anal and oral sex between men?
5. Don’t men and women have oral sex with each other?
6. Don’t men and women have anal sex with each other?
7. What does all this mean in terms of civil rights granted by a civil marriage license to tax paying US citizens?


Minnesota: Same-sex marriage bills set for debate this week

The Minnesota state legislature will begin addressing whether or not to repeal the state’s anti-gay marriage law this week as the issue goes to committee’s in both state chambers.

With strong Democratic numbers in each committee, the bills are expected to make their way to debate in the full chambers. However, Republicans and rural Democrats oppose the concept, so passage is far from certain.

But there are Republicans who see the direction of history, like Chairman Ryan Lyk of Minnesota College Republicans.  From Grand Forks Herald:

“It is not the role of government to dictate who can be married, whose love is valid and which families matter more than others,” Chairman Lyk said. “Marriage benefits society in many ways and I cannot in good conscience support excluding same-sex couples from that important institution.”

Lyk said he does not speak for everyone in his organization, but “I know I speak for many young Republicans when I say that it is time for the Republican Party to move past this issue.”