Will Minn. lawmakers face retribution for gay marriage vote?

6:40 PM, May 13, 2013   |    comments
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ST. PAUL, Minn. - As Minnesota lawmakers voted to support gay marriage, some knew it was a vote that could cost them their jobs.

One lawmaker feeling heat is Rep. Joe Radinovich, a Democrat from Crosby, who called his support of gay marriage, "the right thing to do."

Radinovich represents a district that supported a constitutional ban on gay marriage last November and a recall effort is now underway.

In his speech on the Senate floor Tuesday before voting to support gay marriage, Sen. Branden Petersen, a Republican from Andover, openly wondered what impact the vote would have on his political future.

"You're going to see a few races where it might make a difference," says Hamline University professor David Schultz.

While Schultz believes a handful of lawmakers could be at risk for their votes on gay marriage, he cautions that the next elections are far off.

The Minnesota Senate isn't up for re-election until November 2016. House members are up for re-election in November 2014.

"As they always say, in politics a week is an eternity. Eighteen months is more than an eternity," says Schultz.

Lawmakers in other states that have approved gay marriage have not seen a backlash.

Third Way, a national think tank, studied Washington state and New York where a whopping 97 percent of lawmakers who voted for gay marriage and ran for re-election, won.

"It gets back to the fact that once something is law, once people get used to it, then they are less likely to take it against people in terms of how they are going to vote," says Schultz.

Schultz believes the lawmakers most at-risk for their marriage vote, are lawmakers who would have been at-risk anyway for a variety of other issues.

"I think it's going to be the bread and butter issues about taxes, the budget and the economy," says Schultz.

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