NOW wants MN United to stop supporting anti-choice legislators who backed marriage equality

Abortion has driven a wedge between some marriage equality supporters.
Abortion has driven a wedge between some marriage equality supporters.

The Minnesota chapter of the National Organization for Women doesn't like the fact that Minnesota United is raising funds for legislators who support gay marriage but don't back full abortion rights. As a result, they're asking Minnesota United to pull support for 11 of the 15 legislators (six Dems and five GOPers) they've vowed to support next election cycle.

RELATED: MN United creates fundraising PAC to support lawmakers who voted for gay marriage

"We are truly saddened that the Minnesotans United PAC does not have our back when we need them," Sarah Jane Johnston, president of Minnesota NOW, told the Star Tribune. Funding anti-choice legislators "ignores the needs of a really large contingent that [supported marriage equality]. To me, that's turning your back on your coalition partners."

But Ann Kaner-Roth, co-chairwoman of the Minnesotans United PAC, told the Strib her group has no plans to bend to NOW's pressure.

"We've been very transparent all along about a singular focus on gaining the freedom to marry for same-sex couples," she said. "We were very laser-focused on this issue, and I think that is what brought together a coalition of such a broad base and interests."

In February, Sen. Branden Petersen, R-Andover, became the first Republican legislator to come out in support of legalizing gay marriage. He told the Strib that had he known a staunch pro-choice stance was a prerequisite for receiving Minnesota United's support, "It would have taken me less than a second to say, 'Sorry, I can't help you.' That's a no-brainer."

For what it's worth, Linnea House, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota, told the Strib she has no problem with Minnesota United supporting legislators who aren't as pro-choice as her organization is.

"We understood that [Minnesota United] had a single focus, and we were very happy to help in any way we could," she said. "I support them in doing whatever they need to do to support these people who voted with them."

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at [email protected]

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