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Senate Majority Leader-elect Bakk responds dismissively to pro-marriage equality email

Bakk apparently isn't keen to engage those critical of his conservative stance on gay marriage.
Bakk apparently isn't keen to engage those critical of his conservative stance on gay marriage.

In response to our Friday post -- "Majority Leader-elect Bakk: 'Some real liberal constituencies' pushing marriage equality bill" -- regular City Pages reader Bob Alberti decided to email the DFL's Senate leader and give him a piece of his mind later that day.

SEE ALSO: Marriage Equality for Minnesota Now! petition approaching 4,000 signatures

But the dismissive reply Alberti received to his pro-marriage equality message prompted him to share the correspondence with us.

Our Friday post centered on comments Bakk made last week in a West Central Tribune report. According to the Tribune's Don Davis, Bakk said he is fighting the elimination of Minnesota's law banning gay marriage.

"We are getting some calls from some real liberal constituencies on the gay marriage issue and repealing the language in statute," Bakk said.

Those remarks prompted this email from Alberti to Bakk's official Senate email account:

I was disappointed to read your comments in the West Central Tribune regarding MN DOMA.

I object to your characterization of anti-DOMA advocates as "real liberal." Using "liberal" as an epithet is an artifact of right-wing framing. Being "liberal" is not bad, and using Republican insults against those in your own party is inappropriate for a Democratic party leader.

Your characterization is also insulting to the voters. Minnesota's historic rejection of the Marriage Restriction Amendment was not accomplished by some "liberal" fringe, it was accomplished by greater than a majority of all voters in the state. If anything, your refusal to consider repealing DOMA would place you in the MINORITY in a state which has clearly indicated that such homophobic legislation is overdue for repeal.

Finally, your implied false choice that we cannot both repeal DOMA and accomplish other goals is incorrect. I believe "we can walk and chew gum at the same time." Repealing DOMA does not require a lot of time or work. Crafting legislation explicitly extending marriage rights to same-sex couples might require extensive effort, but DOMA can be repealed with a one-sentence bill, and defining marriage rights legislation left for a future legislature.

The momentum provided by the election and DFL legislative control of state congress are opportunities not to be squandered. The mandate provided the upcoming legislature by voters who successfully blocked the Marriage Restriction Amendment is clear. Timidity in the exercise of power at such a unique moment in history will not be forgiven.

-Bob Alberti
Minneapolis

And here's Bakk's response:

I do not have a clue what you are referring to But if this is intended
for me it is a poor way to lobby the senate leader on an issue important
to you
Have a good weekend

Sent from my iPhone
Tom

A second email from Alberti to Bakk didn't receive a reply.

Makes you wonder -- if sending an email to Bakk's official Senate account is "a poor way to lobby the senate leader," what alternative does the Majority Leader-elect prefer? Similarly baffling is Bakk's "I do not have a clue what you are referring to" comment, as Alberti's email is certainly clear enough. Maybe he's implying the Tribune misquoted him? Marriage equality supporters can only hope.


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